Management Lessons from a T-Ball Game

Baseball glove

Last night I attended a T-Ball game for a group of beginning baseball players.  The difference in this game was, since it was the last game of the year, they were playing without the “T”.  Yep, they had an actual pitch coming at them and they had to swing.  Just like the big kids.  It made me think how some businesses could learn from watching T-Ball.

  • Practice. The kids learn about catching and batting. They learn how to hold the bat, about their new mitts, and wearing helmets for protection. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all got thorough lessons on not just how to do things, but why things are done a certain way? Then actually give employees ample opportunity to carry out these lessons with guidance.
  • Training. Before the game the coaches went over a few things on hitting a moving ball. I know someone who recently accepted a very high-dollar sales job. His training? Here’s your cube, a phone, and your list…have at it. Wow, that’s some training program. Just think how productive a new hire could be there with a little training.
  • Praise. When those kids actually made contact with a pitch, everyone cheered. All the coaches, parents, the whole crowd whooped and clapped, no matter which team they were there to support. Imagine if someone made a sale or closed a deal and co-workers/supervisors freely gave out attaboys. Wouldn’t that make employees more likely to succeed?
  • Coaching and Teaching. Sometimes it takes a few swings to make contact. Maybe some just can’t hit that ball. At least not in the first game. Perhaps they don’t hit in the second or even third game. But they’re coached to keep trying and taught the mechanics of the game so they want to continue. What a concept! Anyone who’s worked in sales knows that it’s a numbers game. You have to make X calls to achieve Y sales. Simple math, yes, but are you getting the necessary coaching when you don’t close the deal?

If you get the opportunity to attend a T-ball game, I highly recommend it.  And to those of you in supervisory or training positions, have patience.  People learn in different ways at different paces.  You just have to individualize a bit to maximize your employees.    But if they make contact with the ball, cheer loud.  No matter whose team you’re on.

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