Every year, two Major League Baseball teams represent the National and American Leagues in the Fall Classic, otherwise known as the World Series.
While those teams are made up of players from around the world, and from different backgrounds and cultures, when they pull on their uniforms they become part of a team with one goal – to win the World Series.
As workplaces increasingly rely on teams, rather than individuals to get things done, the culture of a winning baseball team really isn’t much different than that of a high performing workplace.
Strong leadership is necessary It’s no coincidence that some of the most successful baseball managers are regularly on the corporate leadership speaking circuit and writing books aimed on their experience with winning teams. In the workplace you can have the best talent in the world but if there’s no one to help guide the team, you risk failure. In baseball and the workplace, the most successful teams have a leader they not only depend on, but one they respect and trust.
Team work When turning a double-play in baseball, infielders need to trust that the second baseman will be at the bag. Likewise in the workplace; you need to be confident and trust that the team surrounding you is going to offer you the support you need to be successful.
Quick adjustments are necessary All sorts of things can impact the outcome of a game: rain, injury, or a bad call. But if adjustments are made on the fly these problems can be overcome. Work environments are no different. Especially in the case of smaller companies or start-ups. You must be agile and responsive to meet the demands of your industry and current economic or market conditions.
It doesn't matter what you look like but whether you deliver As a baseball purist it often pains me to see players who don’t fit the athlete mold (I’m referring to the bearded Boston Red Sox). However appearance really isn't relevant to performance. There was once a time in the workplace where it was unheard of to wear jeans or sandals. But that isn't the case anymore. An increase in Gen Y workers combined with a shifted mindset has left employers focusing more on employee’s comfort and happiness than whether or not they are sporting a tie.
Everyone has a role In baseball every player on the team has a key role to fulfill. Whether they are a long reliever or pinch runner, they understand their role and how it contributes to the performance of the team. The same applies at work. It doesn't matter if you are a marketing manager, a developer, or a receptionist—you have a specific role to fill and goals to achieve. If no one is following their designated role, there will be chaos, not a winning team.
It ain't over till it’s over Baseball is a game of second chances. It’s easy to assume the game is over when losing in the bottom of the ninth with two out—yet just one small hit keeps the game alive. Similarly in the workplace, sometimes the smallest piece of success is all it takes to inspire motivation in your team.