I am a huge fan of analogies. My wife frequently enjoys the opportunity to poke fun at some of my “not so correct” analogies. Of which, I must admit, I have spit out quite a few. So please forgive me if this one reminds you of a bad Rodney Dangerfield joke.
While I love to use analogies to explain myself, I love more so baseball and leadership. So why not marry the two in an analogy? Yum, sounds like a perfect analogy sandwich to me.
I sat back in my office chair the other day and listened to the Yankees, my favorite baseball team, drive in 12 runs against the Orioles and succeed in securing a big win. I began to day dream of being Brian Cashman. Cash, as the boys in blue call him, is the General Manager for the world’s most recognized sports franchise, the New York Yankees.
Shortly after my dream I snapped back to the present and stared down my to-do list as if I were Andy Pettite in the middle of Game 7 of the World Series staring down an opposing hitter. That’s when it hit me, my business, is just like a baseball team.
Pitchers – These are the executives of the company. Without a good starting rotation, a baseball team has very low chances of reaching the post season. The leadership skills of the team’s executives dictates how successful everyone else can be. It’s Maxwell’s Law of The Lid.
Position Players – These are the middle managers. These are folks who can hit and field. They increase the score and minimize the risk for the baseball team. Middle managers must be able to bring in big runs when it counts, such as a large account or a huge sale. They also must be able to defend against problems. Just as A-Rod must be able to hit the long ball, he must be equally able to secure hot grounder steaming right at him and be able to make the throw across the diamond to gun out the runner, or in business terms, the risk.
Pay-day – A big baseball team will carry a healthy salary. None more so than the Yankees. But with big bucks comes big wins. Businesses must be willing to reward their players for high level play. If you don’t, you’ll lose your Albert Pujols to an opposing team. You must be willing to either pay the price to your successful employees or risk them leaving and joining your competition.
Stats – The world of baseball is full of them. They record everything! The reason is, you don’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been. If your company is not recording stats how will you know who is your best salesman or who is responsible for the most growth in the company? Worse, how will you be able to recognize the player who is hitting .025 and needs to be “taken out of the line up?”
The smell of fresh cut grass may be replaced with fresh ink from the printer and the sounds of the hotdog vendors may just be your secretary yelling at you through the conference phone, but you’re still in the game and you are still on a baseball team. You’re up in the box with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. Three men on, full count, and you’re down by 3. Welcome to the Big Leagues!
Question: What position are you within your organization? Is your batting average holding back the team?