As a little league coach – by the way‚ I have the fortunate benefit of managing a great group of 11 year old boys (my son included) in regular season and travel ball – I am always amazed at the real world life and business lessons that the game (and other organized sports) affords. To give you a little background‚ our 11 year old team is a committed group of boys who have been playing together for 3 years. Not one of them is necessarily a superstar in his own right but together they have developed into a team that has character‚ is exciting to watch and wins more than their share of games. This past weekend the team struggled a bit and following the game‚ we had our customary on field post-game discussions where we talked about the game‚ our strengths‚ weaknesses and the game plan for next week. For me these conversations are the most enjoyable part of the game and I am always amazed at the insights that these 11 year old boys share during this talk. Many times‚ whether they know it or not‚ playing ball teaches them more about life and business than baseball. The following are just some of the baseball topics we discuss and how I believe they could equally apply to business:
You Cant Win Without Defense. A good defense is the building block for a competitive team and a competitive business. If you don’t have a solid foundation – no matter how strong your offensive game (i.e.‚ great products or services) – your business will not succeed. When it comes to business‚ a “solid defense” is one that has:
A Good Offense Starts with Pitch Selection. So this weekend the boys hit a number of infield ground outs on pitch counts when they had no strikes. That is‚ they were at bat‚ no strikes on them (so they could be selective) and a pitch comes (maybe a strike but not the best pitch to hit – little outside‚ little inside‚ etc.) and what happens next‚ they swing‚ make contact and‚ more often than not‚ grounded out. Turns out that their problem was not their skill‚ batting mechanics or their swing but rather their pitch selection. So we talked and while I advised them to always be “aggressive” when the “pitch count” is in their favor that‚ sometimes‚ being aggressive also means being selective and not swinging at pitches that are just not right. So too with business. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. Consider that your resources are limited and that you cannot be all things to all people. Specialize and recognize that‚ like a good hitter‚ when you are faced with a favorable count or business climate don’t get reckless‚ waste resources or spread your team too thin. Rather‚ double-down on what works and serving those customers and clients who have made your business a success. Just taking free swings and depleting excess capital or staffing on tasks that go beyond the core of your business may just be the equivalent of swinging at a bad pitch.
Of course‚ there are exceptions to these points and they are not always universal. Just great to see that baseball can expose 11 year old boys to business principals that I certainly hope will serve them well in life. By the way‚ the photo is a signed ball given to me by the kids after they overcame one of their roughest seasons with a very successful post-season playoff run.
Date: 05/30/2014 | Category: General
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