As April rolls in, baseball is getting into in full swing. Whether you enjoy casually watching your favorite teams on the big screen, or you just go to the games for the food and fun, there are several business lessons you can learn from America’s favorite pastime. Like business, baseball is a game of strategy and planning. In a single inning anything can happen, and each play comes with an element of unpredictability. So how do teams and coaches make informed decisions? And what can you learn from their strategies? Here are three business lessons you can learn from baseball.
Focus on Flexibility
Part of the fun of sports is their unpredictability. Tiny changes in the speed of a pitcher’s throw, the angle of a hitter’s bat or the judiciousness of an ump’s call can change the course of the game in an instant. The best teams are those who can adapt.
This is also true in business. “Over the long-term, about half of a company’s success is outside of its control because of external factors,” states Roch Parayre a Senior Partner at Decision Strategies International. A plan might need to be changed in an instant, and in a way that you didn’t even consider. Successful leaders craft flexible plans that aren’t dependent on any one thing going right.
Communication is Key
Flexibility comes easily when you have good communicators on your team. In baseball, managers and coaches are constantly communicating with players—they even use coded signals so that players on base know the game plan. Make communication a central aspect of how your team functions so that everyone understands where he or she fits into the plan. Communication starts at the top, with the coaches and leaders in your company making good communication the gold standard.
Leadership: Observe, Measure and Analyze Your Talent
An important part of being a leader is a keen awareness of what contributions each of your players makes to them team. Lead by example and take time to measure and analyze where your team members are and what their strengths are. It is often detrimental to make decisions without first taking a moment to gauge what needs to be changed to remain effective.
These three tips can be the difference between being an inefficient organization and an efficient organization even when faced with adversity.
What other skills do you pick up on when watching team sports? Let us know in the comments.