Speaking of Swinging…

cubsAs a lifelong baseball fan (and a novice baseball historian), I LOVE this World Series. The Chicago Cubs are appearing in their first World Series since 1945, and haven’t won one since 1908. The Cleveland Indians have been in two World Series’ in the past 25 years, but haven’t won since 1948.

While there are certainly no players (or even managers and coaches) that were even alive when the Cubs or Indians last won a championship, there is a exponentially heightened air of pressure on both teams to finally break through, especially the Cubs. The weight of decades of failure and futility for the respective cities and fan bases are on their backs. These aren’t robots; they are humans and they fully understand this. For both teams, that extra pressure can cause one to subconsciously try too hard, and those results are normally bad.

The very best athletes know how to slow the game (and their mind) down. They are able to reduce or even eliminate pressure by focusing on the job at hand in the moment. They stick with the process that got them there; they don’t allow one failed at bat or pitch carry over into the future; and they ignore outside voices.

Can you do the same in your business?

Have you ever felt the pressure to perform? We all have. Certainly when times are tough, you might be getting external pressure. Creating new revenue, exceeding sales goals, getting work out faster, etc. Whatever your stress, you are compounding it by adding too much pressure and altering your performance. You’re not letting your own skill shine through.

To stick with the baseball metaphor, you’re trying to hit the curve ball instead of waiting for the right pitch. Curve balls are hard to hit. Rather, stay with your process and force the fastball.

Bottom line – we all feel pressure. Sometimes it’s external; often it’s self-inflicted. In either case, stress can take you out of your game by making you try too hard. This gets compounded by failure. To avoid this, stay in the moment, slow down your brain, have confidence in yourself and your team, and lay off the curve ball. Instead, hit that fastball over the fence!

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Hey Batter, Batter…SWING

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Growing up, I was a huge Pete Rose fan. In fact, I even tried (unsuccessfully) to mimic his unconventional and awkward stance. I know Pete bet on baseball; of that I have no doubt. However, I’m guessing he always bet on himself and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But, I digress…

I was sent a video of Pete talking batting swings with other FOX Baseball analysts Frank (The Big Hurt) Thomas and Alex Rodriguez. He had them both mesmerized by his simple yet powerful strategies and tactics around doing the hardest thing in sports…hitting a baseball.

Rose had six basic changes he would make when in a batting slump. All of them focused on where he would stand in the batters box (up or back/side to side). He said he never changed his swing because that swing had gotten him to the big leagues. The changes he made were based on what pitchers were throwing him. He’d adjust his position in the batters box, but never his swing.

Here’s a swing tip for you…

You’ve had success in your career; of that I don’t doubt. However too many of you are trying to change the wrong things when you hit a “slump.” Rather, you should simplify your process. For example, I’ve heard a lot lately from clients that want to enhance their life balance and find more time for themselves and their family. Great. That doesn’t take a complete overhaul of how you work (your swing). Instead, focus on simple adjustments in your “batters box” – delegate work you don’t have to do; say NO to projects/tasks that you don’t want to do or aren’t priorities; schedule in discretionary time and hold it sacrosanct; cut down on water cooler conversations and social media surfing; and (here’s the most important one) STOP feeling guilty for doing any or all of these!

Life will throw you a bunch of curve balls. If you haven’t shown an aptitude for adjusting to and hitting them, you’ll find they keep coming and ruin your “batting average.” Don’t over think this. Make simple adjustments, commit to them, stay vigilant, and find a way to get more hits.

I’m betting on you…

Join in on the conversation on my blog

Quote of the Week:

“I don’t think knowing what’s the right thing to do ever gives anybody too much trouble.  It’s doing the right thing that seems to give people trouble.” 

~ President Harry S. Truman

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Going to WAR

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Going to WAR
 

WAR is a fairly new baseball statistic invented out of the sabermetric phenomenon where the emphasis on metrics is accentuated. WAR stands for “Wins Above Replacement” and is an indication of how many wins a player is worth to his team over what is considered a “replacement player.” That definition is a player who is just called up from the minor leagues and is average at best. A good baseball player has a WAR of about 2-3 games. An All-Star player is worth about 5-6 wins for his team. For perspective, I saw a statistic last week when Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the Hall of Fame, that his WAR was calculated at about 8-9 wins a year over an 11 year period.

What’s your WAR to your employer? In other words, are you just a “regular” employee that does the work, but offers no additional “wins” to the organization? Or rather, are you so valuable in your WAR category that you are considered an All-Star? If you’re the employer, the same question can be asked of you, and frankly may be more important. If you’re not adding tremendous value to your company and employees, how can you expect the same in return?

Final thought. While it’s not as easy to attach metrics in this area as it is in baseball, everyone knows based on the “eye test.” Whether you’re the boss or the employee, your value to the team is being measured. How good is your WAR?

 
Quote of the Week:
“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day.”
~ Bob Feller, former Cleveland Indians pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Runs, Hits, and Errors

Runs, Hits, and Errors                  

 

I’m writing this Extra Points on Saturday morning, while watching Felix Hernandez pitch for the Mariners against the Chicago White Sox. 3B Kyle Seager booted a routine ground ball for an error with 2 outs. While it didn’t end up costing the Mariners a run in that inning, it did have hidden consequences. 

Mariners broadcaster Mike Blowers recalled a conversation with former Mariners skipper, Lou Piniella. Piniella said that errors have a consequence, even if a run never scores because it adds to the pitch count for the pitcher. Especially early in a season, pitchers are on a strict pitch count as to not overwork their arms and cause injury. In all the years of watching baseball, I’d never considered this.

The same is ultimately true in your business or career. Your own “errors” end up having consequences that are not readily apparent. Often, our mistakes aren’t realized immediately until those consequences catch up to us. Even if we do know we “booted a grounder,” if we can recover quickly we feel we got out of our jam.

Here are some of our “pitch count” consequences – lost time, lost future business, missed opportunities, severed or diminished relationships, and increased stress and anxiety. Obviously, we never try to make errors. Neither to big league ball players. The real goal is to be aware of the consequences and work to improve your own decision making process and score more runs and hits, than errors!

 

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

This week’s quote –

“I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”
–  Tom Landry, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys

 

Extra Points – April Fools Day

Fools Gold                   

 April Fools Day.

One of my favorite days, especially because it’s my wife’s birthday. I’ve always teased her because she is an April Fools baby and I was a New Years Eve baby, which means everyone parties on my birthday, and plays practical jokes on hers. Fortunately, she sees the humor in it and can laugh along with me. Believe me, I give her plenty of ammunition to poke fun at me!

I remember years ago (back in the mid-1980s), Sports Illustrated ran a featured story on a pitcher by the name of Sidd Finch.  The Curious Case of Sidd Finch was written by prize-winning journalist, George Plimpton and chronicled the unbelievable story of this guy who had a 168 mph fastball and was trying to make the New York Mets staff. It was a 14-page article that caught like wildfire (in the non-Internet dark days). Of course, it was a hoax, but as is the case with much jocularity when the propaganda is so outlandish, many people fell for it only to be told, “April Fools Day!” One of my favorite stories almost 30 years later.

The ability to laugh at one’s self is priceless. It’s actually not fool’s gold, but the real McCoy. In good times and challenging times, laughter and humor can save us from despair, depression, and disgust. Being able to laugh at yourself instead of someone else is a true test of your ability to have humor. I hope this April Fools Day, you will take some time out of the day to have a hearty laugh and a full sense of humor.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

This week’s quote –
“A fool and his money are easily parted.”
–  Mark Twain

Extra Points – Transition

Transition.  @ Fenway

As an avid football fan, it’s really a strange Sunday after the Super Bowl. Since last August, every Sunday has multiple games and I’m hooked on the Seahawks, my fantasy football teams, and just the pure love of the game. Then it’s over in early February.

Pitchers and catchers report in about a week to kick off spring training in Major League Baseball. That signals rebirth with spring, the thud of a fastball hitting the catcher’s glove, and the crack of the bat sending the ball over the fence. There is always something in sports to take the place of what just left.
The same is true in business. No matter how successful a recent initiative, personal goal, or objective was, it ends. With it should be a transition into something new. Businesses that never transition, create change, or look to new opportunities soon become irrelevant and disappear. So it has been in the newspaper industry. However, businesses that become catalysts for change, new energy, rebirth, excitement, and risk, well they become objects of interest, thought leaders, and cutting edge.

In order to be the latter, you need to take time to strategize. That means putting your fee up on your desk, hands clasped behind your head, thinking deeply about how you and your business can improve the lives and conditions of more people, and how you can reach them to let them know. Creativity is king. But it only ascends to the throne through sheer courage and action.

Batter up!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.” – Alan Weiss

 

Extra Points – Teammates

Teammates.

with Jim Lefebvre and Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson

Last Tuesday, I had the honor of sitting next to Jim Lefebvre as I was Master of Ceremonies for the 13-year old Babe Ruth World Series. Jim was the manager of the Seattle Mariners about 25 years ago. Today, he is a tremendous ambassador for the game of baseball. I enthusiastically listened to his stories for an hour. The one constant he had, and was highlighted in his keynote address, was the importance of being a teammate.  Baseball is a team game – you are called on to sacrifice bunt, move runners over by making an out, swinging on a hit and run, and a myriad of other things. He stressed that a successful team was one made up of great teammates.

The same is true in business and life. Who are your teammates? In business, it’s your employees, your clients, your vendors, your board of directors, your investors, and your community. In life, it’s your family, your friends, your community service groups, and your community. Being good teammates often means sacrificing for them, too. It means letting others be the stars sometimes, It also means taking leadership roles when you’re called to, or when you are the obvious choice. It takes courage.

Final thought. When I coached high school basketball, I only had one simple rule for my players. Don’t let your teammates down. It encompasses a lot of selfishness that can ruin a good team. How are your teammates doing? More importantly, are you a good teammate?

This week’s quote – “If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.”
~Dave Barry

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Top 7 Posts for 1st Quarter

New feature…

Here are the Top 7 posts for 1st Quarter of 2012 (in order)…

1. Saints to Sinners: Business Lessons from the NFL

2. Moneyball for Insurance Executives

3. The Escape and Capture of Captain Jack

4. Too Much in Your Face(book)

5. The Seinfeld Principle

6. Worry and Concern: A Blog from Alan Weiss

7. My Famous Daughter

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved