We learn a lot as kids that we forget or ignore when it comes to our jobs and businesses. Watching a youth baseball game this weekend, I saw a team of nine year old kids model how we can be better at work. What lessons from sports can we apply to running a business?
I watched a team of talented boys in their first summer tournament. The kids were all good players, but it was their first game and they were over-matched by the opposing team. The other team looked like they have been together for a while and played many games together. They had built up skills and trust through experience and coaching.
The team I rooted for got behind early, but they never got down. They fought hard. I saw:
– The boys congratulating each other for good plays.
– Coaches giving instruction throughout the game.
– The players taking the coaching and immediately trying to apply what they had been told.
– Players shaking off mistakes and getting on with the game.
– Parents and friends encouraging the players from the bleachers.
The score didn’t show it, but those boys won on Saturday. In a small way, they learned lessons and skills that will serve them well their entire lives.
It was a simple baseball game but it sure does mirror what a successful business looks like. They were keeping score (P&L), tracking runs, hits, strikes, balls, outs (KPIs), making adjustments (adapting strategy and tactics), supporting each other (recognition and teamwork), taking coaching (feedback and accountability), and trying to win (meet a common goal).
Maybe business leaders and team members should approach work like a bunch of nine year olds playing baseball. We can take a few lessons from sports.