What Baseball Can Teach Us At Work
© 2015 Bill Eddy and L. Georgi DiStefano
As both therapists and attorney we have spoken with hundreds of clients over the years. From those experiences we have learned that many individuals hold themselves to unrealistic and often detrimental standards. We often encourage these individuals to consider the lessons of baseball. Let’s begin with performance. Most people expect themselves to hit home runs daily. Worse yet, many managers expect the same thing of their employees. Is that realistic?
A major league baseball average is 300. That actually means that out of ten times at bat, you miss connecting with the ball seven times. That’s right. A person gets paid thousands of dollars and only connects with the ball three (3) times. That is considered a solid major league batting average. There is an important life lesson here. Sometimes we strike out. Sometimes we hit a single or double and sometimes we are lucky and hit a home run. It is our season average that counts. Judging yourself too harshly or unrealistically will actually work against your performance.
Managers take note. Think of performance in terms of seasons. A fiscal year is a good equivalent of a season. Take the long view. In our book, “It’s All Your Fault At Work” we discuss the importance of feed forward conversations. Help employees set future goals that are realistic and attainable. Remind them as they should remind themselves that some days they will hit it out of the park and some days they will strike out. What’s important is to define success by your season average.
Another lesson provided by baseball is that you can always benefit from working with a coach. Think about it. A person gets paid thousands or perhaps millions of dollars per baseball season. They have been playing the game of baseball for many years by the time they make the big leagues. Nevertheless, they still go to spring training, they still listen to the advice of a batting coach or a coach on the first base line; why? To gain added perspective. There is virtually not a job that cannot be improved by considering an additional perspective. It doesn’t matter your level of expertise or experience. Most of us would benefit from a new training, a work consultation, some form of added perspective. We frequently make the cognitive mistake of thinking we should know it all in our job positions. However, the truth is that there is usually much to gain by considering a new perspective at work.
A final lesson from baseball is to value team work. Get to know your team members at work. It is important to learn how they best receive information and what their strengths are. Play to their strengths and don’t forget that in this modern day of technology in person contact goes a long way to building lasting relationships. You might even want to go to a baseball game together.
Bill Eddy and L. Georgi DiStefano are trainers and consultants for the High Conflict Institute, based on San Diego, California. They are also the co-authors of New Ways for Work: Personal Skills for Productive Relationships: Coaching Manual and Workbook and the Axiom award-winning book It’s All Your Fault at Work: Managing Narcissists and Other High-Conflict People. For more information, books, videos or to set up a training or consultation, see www.HighConflictInstitute.com.