team building

From the Ball Field to Business: Lessons Learned from Youth Baseball 

This weekend, my 11-year-old son and his baseball team reminded me of valuable lessons while competing in their first travel baseball tournament.

Baseball has its ups and downs. In one game, hitting a double helps your team clinch an underdog playoff berth; while the next weekend brings a double-digit loss. In my son’s first summer playoff tournament experience, his team faced the 8th ranked team in the state and suffered a crushing 21-0 loss. After the first day of tournament play, the final bracket revealed that my son would play that same team again.

Helping my son get fired up and ready to face what would likely be a difficult game reminded me of confronting difficult days in business. We’ve all had projects that have not gone well, developed products that failed, or had to deliver difficult news. Watching my son and his team fight back and set small goals to 1) score a run; and 2) limit their opponents’ runs reminded me of the importance of goal setting within our everyday projects.

My son’s team didn’t win the game, but they were successful and achieved both of their goals. They were the first team in the tournament to score a run against this particular opponent and limited them to only eight runs. Players rallied and picked each other up to be better than they were the day before. And they succeeded. Parents cheered for every out and every hit.  The opponent was forced to put in their best pitcher after a few innings and went from assuming they would have an easy first game to being challenged for the first time in the entire tournament. My son and his team faced a difficult situation, found success, and are now more prepared to tackle the next challenging tournament.

My son went from saying he wanted to forfeit the game, to remembering why he loves the game of baseball. As I reflect on our first travel baseball tournament experience, I am reminded of ways we can face and respond to challenging days in our work.

Business lessons from the game of baseball:

  • Deliver bad news fast: We’ve all had to deliver difficult news on delays, budgets, or performance. Avoiding the discussion or hoping the problem goes away (“forfeiting”) is never the answer. It is best to face the challenge head on and work through the problems to get to a place where success is possible. My son (and his teammates) wanted to avoid the game because they thought they knew the outcome before the game was even played. Bringing bad news out to the open can help your team learn from their mistakes and see ways ahead that may not have been the original, planned outcome.
  • Set achievable goals: Scoring one run or “losing by less” may not seem like goals you want for a baseball team, but they were realistic goals that the team could achieve. The path to a successful product launch, data migration, or new system implementation can be a long one. Setting small, achievable goals will help your team stay motivated when faced with a long, difficult project. We may want to go out and win the tournament, but you first must win the next pitch. Small steps can help you build a successful product, plan for a successful data migration, or implement new software.
  • Celebrate the small wins: Parents and teammates cheered the small wins – every out, every base runner, and every stolen base. This helped the team stay motivated and have fun. Don’t wait until the end to celebrate a new product or successful project. Celebrate small wins along the way to help your team stay motivated and excited about the project.
  • Challenge yourself and take the stretch assignment: My son’s team is a first-year travel team playing in the second division in our local county league. Throughout the regular season his team faced teams that were a lot like his. Facing a highly ranked team showed my son and his team what is possible at this level. My son and his team didn’t know what they were capable of until being forced to elevate their game to compete with a better team. If you don’t challenge yourself or your team to take a stretch assignment or tackle a large goal, you will never find out what you are capable of.

Like all sports teams, our workplace teams offer an opportunity for shared purpose, collaboration, adversity, and success.  Does your team have an important data or technology project on the horizon, or a struggling project in flight?  Our Grandview team, comprised of outstanding utility players with data-savvy business analyst skills and financial industry expertise, can join your team in a variety of roles to contribute to winning project outcomes. We’re here if you need us.  Let’s Play Ball!

ABOUT GRANDVIEW ANALYTICS

Grandview Analytics is a technology consulting and data management software company serving financial institutions. We offer data strategy, technology implementation, systems integration, and analytics consulting services as well as an outsourced data management and reporting service powered by our proprietary, cloud-based platform, Rivvit.

Our services drive improved business processes, integrated technologies, accurate and timely data, and enhanced decision-making capabilities. Our seasoned team of financial industry professionals brings deep business and technical domain expertise across asset classes and trade lifecycle. With hands-on financial industry experience, we execute on complex initiatives that help clients optimize ROI on data and technology investments.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison Barton

Allison Barton

Allison Barton is Director at Grandview Analytics, where she is passionate about using data to guide decisions and create engaging digital experiences.

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