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Ah baseball… The green grass (or astroturf if ye must) the crack of the bat (or ping of the metal one, if ye must), the smell of hot dogs and boiled peanuts (in the south – they are awesome) and garlic french fries (in the west – they are awesome)….
We do love us some baseball here at SengStrategies HQ (which, as well all know, is a secure satellite headquarters, orbiting in a geosynchronous position 22,300 miles above Atlanta, Georgia). We like our sunny day games, our Friday night games (with the ‘should-be-a-law’ post-game fireworks). We admire the lack of a clock telling you how much time is left. We think it is crazy-cool that it is about the only game where the defense has the ball….
But every once in a while, we like to take this pure avocation and muck it up by referencing it to make some points about that crazy thing we call “bidness”. (You might call it ‘business’. We’re not here to quibble.)
So what can we see in baseball that applies to your bidness? Quite a bit.
Your favorite team baseball team (pretend that you have one if you don’t have one – we’ll suggest the Atlanta Braves) can’t compete without some specialization.
One guy – even if Bugs Bunny is playing all positions as seen here – can’t do it all. You need starting pitching. You need defense. You need speed. You need catching. You need a few guys who can hit for average. You need a few who can hit for power.
You need some specialized skills, is what we’re suggesting.
Yet too often, we see a CEO or founder (sometimes both) trying to do jobs that are best sent to role players.
You might be that CEO. You might be that guy who came up with the idea to put that dealership *right here*. You might even be a for-real genius.
But that doesn’t mean that you should then wash all of the cars. It doesn’t mean that you should be working the assembly line. It doesn’t mean that you should be buried in spreadsheets and handling payroll and expense checks. It doesn’t mean that you should be in on every sales meeting or answering every support call.
We’d suggest that you either outsource this stuff, or that if the means allow, you hire experts in these areas. Because, as we’re trying to get you to understand -you need cycles for the big things. Like that core vision thing. Like dealing with partners. Like dealing with venture capital and investors. You, we’re suggesting, have plenty to do already.
So… back to the baseball thing, by all means, be the field manager – the guy in the dugout who decides how to allocate the team’s resources. Be the guy who can tell when it is time to get help from the bullpen. Know your team, but trust your team to do what they do well. Play the game today, but keep an eye on the schedule – there are 162 games in the season. Look at the big picture. Prepare for the dog days in August. Be fresh and ready for the post season.
Don’t try to be something that you’re not really suited to be. Bobby Cox was an amazing manager for the Atlanta Braves – but he didn’t try to pitch, hit or field. He had Tim Hudson, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann to do those things.
Don’t be the marketing director – hire one who you trust. Don’t be the lead service tech – but hire one who you can communicate with effectively. Don’t be the accountant – but hire one who can give you on the fly updates when you need them, and who can make sure that cash flow is there as you need it.
Be the manager. Hire a good team. And then let’s play some ball.
Read More from Bill at SengStrategies.com, or follow him on Twitter - @BillSengstacken