Last week began the start of my favorite time of the year; baseball season. The time when 30 teams and 750 men begin a journey with the single goal of reaching ‘The Fall Classic’ and becoming the World Series Champions. These teams will also carry the hopes and dreams of millions of their fans who will hang on to every pitch, hit and defensive play over the next six months.
For those of you who know me well, you know where I was around mid-day yesterday. For those who don’t, it was not at my desk. So what does Opening Day have to do with business and in particular this business? At this point in the season, everyone is starting at the same spot, everyone has the same chance to win the World Series, and everyone has the same optimism. However, not all will succeed.
So, let me draw some parallels to baseball season and business.
Since 1961, when the MLB went to a 162-game season, 99.9% of teams win at least 54 games and lose 54 games each year. There have only ever been seven exceptions. The following teams lost less than 54 games; the 1961 Yankees, the 1969 Orioles, the 1998 Yankees, and the 2001 Mariners. On the other side of the equation, the following teams failed to win at least 54 games; the 1962 Mets, the 2003 Tigers and unfortunately the 2018 Orioles. This is not much different than a business year. According to the law of averages you are going to be successful about a third of the time, and have your challenges (loses) about a third of the time. What separates the winners from the losers, the good from the great, the ones that hit their goals from those who don’t, is what they do with the 54 games in the middle. The teams that win and excel over those 54 take home the trophy. While those who don’t, go home.
In business, as in sport, it is all about the TEAM. The season is long, and everyone on the team needs to be ready when needed. Everyone has a role, and while no team has 9 All-Stars, they are all professionals and need to be prepared when called on to contribute, and to the best of their ability. In 2016 when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, they used 45 different players on the way to becoming champions. Alongside the players, an entire team of clubhouse and front office professionals worked behind the scenes to support the players on the field. Fern has a clubhouse and front office team in every branch—the branch teams and the office support teams all contribute to our client’s success. Everyone on the team matters and everyone contributes to the success of an event. A winning attitude is fostered by a collaborative cuture that starts at the top and goes all the way through an organization.
Preparation matters. What happens between the lines is the ‘fun’ part of the game. The hard work is done before and after the game. In the weight room, on the practice field, and in the bullpen. Hitting hundreds of balls off a tee, constantly studying to gain knowledge and having coaches (management) push us to deliver at the highest level, is all part of the game. For Fern, being on show site, setting booths for exhibitors, and hanging graphics is our game day. The outcome and level of satisfaction our clients experience are in direct correlation to how we prepare.
Little things matter. The difference between a .300 batting average (Hall of Fame Status) and a .250 batting average comes down to 18-24 hits throughout the season. In essence, one hit a week. In 2018 the average number of games separating first place from second place was six games, or just under 3%. The little things do matter; it separates good from great and determines champions. Is your contractor doing the little things needed to ensure a GREAT event vs. a GOOD event?
Spring training is over; the season has started. How will your team, your teammates and you perform during those 54 games in the middle? Is everyone prepared? Are they doing the little things?