9 Things Baseball Can Teach Us About Business

9 things baseball can teach us about businessWhether you worship baseball or are an October bandwagon jumper, there are a few things the national pastime can teach us about business:

  1. Spring training is necessary. Even the best hitters/pitchers need time to try out for roster and position spots. How often does your team get together? What have you learned as a result? Are some employees better suited in other roles? Take the time to learn your roster of high performers and put them in roles they can shine.
  2. Even slow starters can finish strong. The St Louis Cardinals may be National League champions, but less than eight weeks ago they sat 10 ½ games behind the Atlanta Braves. The same is often true of your sales department.  Think of that rep who is starting slowly this year, but has a long track record of success.  Give him the chance to succeed before pulling the plug.
  3. 3 out of 10 is good: In baseball, the .300 hitter is revered. He only sees success 3 out of 10 times up to bat. There is no other sport that celebrates such a stat. In sales specifically, if you have a .300 hitter (closing 3 out of 10 opportunities)you should congratulate them on a job well done.
  4. A large budget doesn’t equate to the best outcome. You can invest all the money in the world in your people and technology, but it won’t always deliver the results. The NY Yankees didn’t even make it to the second round of playoffs.
  5. Behind every star player is a star coach. You can have all the talent in the world but if there’s no one to help you harness it, then you’re just Manny being Manny.
  6. Stats can be important, but results matter most. I don’t know any sport where the statistics are so integral to the game. Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista may have hit over 50 home runs last year and was MVP, but his team finished a dismal 4th in the division. In business you need a group of individuals collectively performing at the top of their game in order to achieve greatness.
  7. Team work. A well hit triple doesn’t mean anything until someone brings him home. You have to trust that the second baseman will be at the bag when turning a quick double play.  You have to trust that the pitcher is going to back up home plate.  You have to trust that the hitter is going to understand the signs given to him in a hit-and-run scenario.  In business, you have to know that the team surrounding you is going to offer your organzation the support it needs to be a success.
  8. Seize every opportunity. Keep your eye on the ball. In baseball, you never know what is going to happen next.  The rightfielder might drop a routine fly.  The ball might go through the shortstop’s legs.  The umpire might miss a call.  If you aren’t aware of everything that is going on around you, you might miss that chance to stretch that single into a double, or score on an error.  This is true in business as well; if your competition stumbles, and you aren’t aware, you could miss a valuable opportunity to get ahead.
  9. It ain’t over till it’s over. Yogi Berra said it best “It ain’t over till it’s over.” The most successful organizations will encourage their people to find creative ways to achieve objectives. Don’t assume all is lost when there are two outs and it’s the bottom of the ninth.

Regardless, I hope the World Series gives you an opportunity to up your game (Unless you’re a Phillies fan like me in which case you’re welcome to be depressed until next April).

Kelly Batke

Kelly is the self-confessed technology laggard who works in technology. The good news is she is slowly reaching late adopter status. Kelly enjoys learning and writing about the psychology behind technology—as in why do we buy what we buy, and how does that impact our environment?