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Is your business about talent?

Posted: April 20, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2014 2:00 a.m.

 

Baseball is a leading sport in America and it is a significant business. The thirty teams in Major League Baseball are valued in the hundreds of millions and annual combined revenues are in the billions of dollars.

What makes this sport interesting is that baseball is a business of talent. Businesses can learn from baseball about how to acquire, focus, manage, and coach employees.

Goals

Baseball teams begin the season with a stated goal. This goal is set by the ownership of the franchise and it is communicated to everyone in the organization.

Not every team has the same goal; the Oakland A’s have a stated goal to get into the playoffs which take place after the regular 162 game season. Other teams, such as the New York Yankees, expect to win the World Series each year.

Teams saying they are “rebuilding” don’t set specific goals. As a result, those teams don’t do as well as those teams that set and announce their goals.

Unfortunately, most businesses do not publicize their goals, for a variety of reasons, the most common one being that goals do not exist. The existence of goals causes performance to improve yet many owners ignore this fact.

Scoreboard

As the season progresses, every stakeholder (players, management, coaching staff, fans and media) sees exactly how the team is doing against the stated goal. This is done through a daily report called “the standings.”

During each game, those same stakeholders can see what is happening by watching “the scoreboard.” The scoreboard lists how those playing are performing. This is the equivalent of an ongoing, visible, and highly public performance evaluation. Employee engagement levels would likely be higher if companies posted the results to show how the business is doing versus goals.

The GM

The sole responsibility of the General Manager is talent acquisition. A baseball team is no different than most businesses; having the right people in the right spot is a critical component of success.

In many businesses, talent management is diffused and no single person “owns” the responsibility. This means underperformers remain on the payroll when perhaps they should be working elsewhere.

Field Manager

The manager has just 25 men on the roster to win each game. Resources must be used wisely. The manager has the final call on all decisions on who plays where and for how long.

In some companies, the lines of authority are not clear and employees receive conflicting direction which creates confusion, mistakes and inefficiencies.

Coaches

Each coach maximizes the talent of each player: as a fielder, hitter or pitcher. The hitting, fielding, bench and base running coaches are all critical for ongoing player development.

In business it is assumed that managers can lead, plan, direct, control, organize and communicate but it takes an exceptional person do fulfill these responsibilities well.

Coaching is just one more thing that a manager has to do and as a result, they usually do not perform this task well.

Your business is built on talent. How much time is spent in acquisition of better talent? How much time is spent setting and communicating goals? How much time is invested coaching talented people to become better?

Do you have a team or simply a group of people who work for the same organization? And, what, besides a paycheck, keeps them coming to work every day? What kind of scoreboard and standings are available to the “players” on your team? Is winning defined?

Ken Keller facilitates The Wise Owners Advisory Boards, bringing business owners together for education, sharing and on-going success. Contact him at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

 

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