With the baseball season in full swing and the College World Series just a few weeks away (by the way, General Admission ticket books are available at our office), now is a good time to discuss teamwork. If you have ever played any type of team sport, you will understand that every person is important to the team’s overall success. It doesn’t matter in baseball if you are the league’s best hitter, without a strong team around you, you are destined to fail. The same is true in our businesses. When you don’t have a strong team surrounding you, the chances of failure are greatly increased. You may feel that you are a superstar but you need the other teammates to play their positions to be truly successful. When you look at your team, be honest, is everyone in the right position? The follow up question is, are you playing in the right place? As many aging players will attest to, it is easy to think you are able to play at your former levels. The best players realize they need to change and take on a different position. It may be an outfielder who moves to first base or a starting pitcher who takes to the bullpen as a closer. In business, it may be a high activity producer taking on a training role or a manager who moves back into a sales role.
I myself have seen my role in the company constantly change. First as a producer who was beating the bushes for opportunities. Next as the person to direct business development and now as a consultant to the next generation. My time pushing the envelope has come and gone and now the best use of time is helping others push those same limits. I watch as many individuals, who are afraid to let go and not change, actually drag the team down and not allow them to achieve their full potential. Using the baseball analogy, it might be the pitcher who has lost the speed on their fastball. If they continue to falsely believe that they can revive that speed, the team will lose and unfortunately lose often. Not only will that player hurt the team when they play but the morale of the team will suffer also and ultimately the team will lose their focus. In business, it might be a manager who fails to stay on top of current trends and as time goes on, not only will the manager fail, but the team will also suffer. The good news is that in both scenarios there is a better solution. In baseball, the aging pitcher could add value to the team by modifying his role slightly to more of a teaching and training role amongst the newer players. In business, it can be as easy as the manager handing off decision making and instead working to build on the goodwill of the company.
In baseball, as well as business, time marches on. The challenge each of us has is to know when we are no longer contributing to a win for our team but rather assisting in the win for the competition. As player coaches, we must be willing to allow younger, more talented individuals to step in and take the team to higher levels. When your A game becomes a B or C game, do yourself and the team a favor and step aside, take a different role and cheer them on from the sidelines.