In just a few weeks, a very important annual event occurs. Here in New York, some might even consider it a national holiday.
Sports fans, you know what it is…
OPENING DAY of Major League Baseball.
In our area, we take this seriously.
The fact is, you can learn a lot about leadership from baseball. Here are some of those lessons.
It is a team sport that depends on each individual performing at their highest level.
Your company’s performance is not determined by the performance of one single individual, and yet it is affected by each individual’s contribution to the game. As a leader, you must develop each player to his or her fullest potential. You must be able to draft the best players – and then help them grow to be even better.
Having the right players in the right positions at the right time is critical to success.
Having strong individuals on your team is important, but it is not enough. You must also have a strong team. This means having the right players in the right positions at the right time. Putting good players in wrong roles just does not work. No matter how hard they work or how much you push them, if the role doesn’t fit, they won’t be your best players in that position. This is why coaches spend a great deal of time and resources determining players’ best positioning and the lineup for each game.
Little League skills won’t work on a major league team.
If you’ve ever been to a Little League game, you know it can be painful. It is because we tend to compare players with starting skills to professionally trained players. In reality, we should not expect Little Leaguers to play like pros (though if you’ve watched the Little League World Series, you know they can be pretty amazing players). By the same token, you certainly don’t expect the pros to play like Little League players, either.
In early years, players learn technique. This is critically important. The technical skills of baseball are important and relatively straightforward – what you learned in Little League carries through to the major leagues.
But HOW you played in Little League or even in the Triple A role won’t work in the major league. At that level, you must have developed more than just the techniques of the game – you must have a deep level of skill and highly developed intuition.
Professional leadership involves taking a technical skill to a strategic level. That is what distinguishes the professionals from the amateurs.
To accomplish this level of strategic technical skill takes years of practice and training. Your chances of walking onto the field having never played before and getting signed up for a professional team are slim to none.
It takes five things to make it to the big leagues: desire, skill, knowledge, practice, and tenacity. This is how it works in business as well. Do you have these five credentials? Have you helped the individuals on your team develop them as well?
In your business, are you a big league leader or a Little League leader? Have you developed a big league team or a Little League team?
It’s up to you as a leader to establish the right team and then develop the team to professional level.