With the coning of Spring also means the return of baseball. Now, I love all sports. But, America’s favorite pastime isn’t great just for enjoyment and relaxation purposes; it’s also the source of numerous life and business lessons. After all, some of our culture’s most popular sayings (“You can’t win ’em all,” “He really hit a home run that time,” and “He was out before he reached First Base,” for example) come from the diamond.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to go over some business lessons that we can learn from baseball. Even if you don’t like sports – or if you are not working from home just yet – you will learn from these lessons.
Lesson Number One: It’s a Long Season
The Major League Baseball season stretches from April to October, and includes over 160 regular league games. And that doesn’t include pre-season scrimmages or playoff match-ups. With each game lasting an approximate 2.5 hours, that’s a lot of time on the diamond!
What happens in the first inning of the first game in the pre-season has little bearing on who the pennant winner will be. The season lasts a long, long (and some say TOO long) time. By the time the season wraps up, the average batter has been in the box over 500 times. Sometimes they get a hit, but more often, they get out. But that first time up to bat doesn’t set the tone for their season – unless they let it.
Business is the same way. While any one “pitch,” customer interaction, or promotion may seem of the utmost importance — and it is, in that moment — in the overall scheme of things, it is only one piece of a larger mosaic. Yes, great players play hard every pitch, but they also know how to pace themselves and shake off a missed strike and move ahead.
In your business, you need that perspective. Yes, you want to hit a home run each and every time you are at bat, and you want to make a play every time the game comes your way, but chances are you are going to flub a few easy pop-ups, and miss a few easy strikes. That is just the nature of the game.
Sometimes, your perfectly crafted sales page does not convert. Sometimes, an unhappy customer remains unhappy no matter how hard you try to fix the situation. Sometimes, a great product doesn’t sell well. Sometimes you can figure out why, while other times you just have to let it go and move forward, realizing that you will have hundreds of other interactions and opportunities to make your season a winning one.
To put things in perspective, the best hitters in baseball typically have a batting average of around .300. That means every ten times they get up to bat, they fail to get on base seven times. And these are the best of the best! Even the venerable Babe Ruth had a lifetime batting average of only .342.
On a team level, most clubs are striving for a winning season — meaning they win more than they lose. That should be your goal, too — to win more than you lose. And when you do lose — clients, accounts, m
ailing list subscribers — dust your cleats off and try again.