On a recent business trip, I was flying from my home in Phoenix to the San Francisco Bay Area and there were a number of baseball fans on my flight returning home. The Phoenix area is the spring training home to a number of major league baseball teams including Bay Area favorites – Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. So, there I sat among these fans wearing their favorite team’s ball caps, jerseys, hats, you name it they were wearing it. Many of them also looked a bit sun drenched, but I won’t go there. Now, I’m a big baseball fan including of my boyhood hometown Kansas City Royals, and wholeheartedly support the notion that Hope Springs Eternal, but I began to think about the relationship between Spring Training and efforts aimed at improving organizations. In baseball, there are a number of purposes for holding spring training – getting in baseball shape, working on the fundamentals, evaluating talent and accelerating players’ capabilities, to name a few – and guess what, the same goes for every team and occurs every year; there’s not much variation between one spring training from the next. Successful baseball people realize that investing time each year on the same areas, with a few new wrinkles, helps the players on their team equip themselves for the long season ahead. Now, let’s compare that to organizations. I think the equivalent of spring training would do most organizations and their workforce members, a lot of good. Investing time and effort on improving the fundamentals like efficient communication, disciplined execution, and gathering and monitoring meaningful metrics about essential services would be good places to start. In government there’s a strong tendency to count what can be counted, but not measure what’s important. How about evaluating talent – strategically placing climbers in your organizations in situations for him/her to grow and learn. I’ve seen countless times organizational leaders fall into the trap thinking the only ways to improve an organization are through another in a series of unsuccessful re-organizations, draconian cost-cutting measures, or pumping up the training budget. More often is the case that those actions, while good intentioned, rarely work as planned. In my consulting practice, my team works with organizational leaders using the approach that problems define solutions. Yes, that’s right, problems define solutions, so we sharpen our focus and surgically identify those barriers preventing optimal performance and then using our expertise and experience provide a series of integrated solutions to disrupt the status quo and immediately improve the performance of our client’s organization. We count a number of success stories with clients helping them and their workforce “get better all the time.” So, go get your baseball mitt, take a few cuts with your bat, straighten your cap and race toward the baseball diamond, it’s Spring Training and time to refresh yourself, replenish your spirit, and restore your organization. I’d be delighted to speak with you about how together we can co-create a spirited and focused Spring Training Plan for your organization, so please contact me at email@example.com.
Spring Training: It’s Not Just For Baseball