Fast Company

What Organizations Can Learn From the Baseball Playoffs

BaseballIt's that time of the year again. Fall has arrived and the baseball playoffs are on the horizon. Because our San Diego office is virtually in the outfield of PETCO Park, our staff had the opportunity to follow the game and watch numerous high caliber teams play in the stadium. This is the most important time of the year for many clubs. They've logged in thousands of hours, endured injuries, and now it's time to take it to the next level or go home. While there's undoubtedly a lot of excitement and anxiety, it's important for teams to keep in mind that once they've advanced to the next level, past performance doesn't matter anymore.

It's during the playoffs that managers really need to stay true to their philosophies and help guide players in the right direction. How a manager leads his team is in many ways like how executives should manage their companies. Here are five lessons organizations can learn from managers as they aim to win the big one.

1) Play one game at a time.
A problem that many players experience is looking ahead to the next opponent when the current series isn't complete. Focus on the task at hand before looking to the next challenge. For companies, get through one project before moving on to the next and be sure to give your undivided attention to the job at hand.

2) Don't panic.
The visiting team may have hit the go ahead run in the ninth inning, but that's no reason to assume it's all over. Premature panicking won't do anyone any good. Relax and keep a cool head. Don't buckle under pressure and focus on reaching the next goal. Surely employees experience times that are more stressful than others, but encourage staff to take deep breathes and do what they do well. Encourage them to determine how to tackle the problem without letting the pressure get the best of them.

3) Give your best at bat.
Every player wants to step up to the plate and hit the game winning run. It's a nice vision, but it doesn't always happen. A better approach is to give it their all each and every time and let the chips fall where they may. Companies sometimes are caught in similar positions and should respond the same way. At the completion of a project, employees should feel that they put forth their "A Game," regardless of the outcome.

4) Know your strengths.
Managers know who their key pitchers are and intentionally put those individuals up against stronger opponents to keep the playing field competitive. They know which pitcher they want to bring in from the bullpen to face a left handed hitter. A company needs to identify which individuals will work best on certain projects. For instance, when a client aims to launch a specific campaign, we're able to provide them with the best experts in that field to complete the task. Sometimes companies can get off track because they focus so much on what their competitors are doing. Good companies will focus less on their rivals and more on themselves and allow their strengths to do the talking.

5) Know the schedule
While players should focus on one game at a time, having a sense of what might lie ahead is important. At Red Door, our teams are constantly working together. For example, while one person might be working on an email strategy, a social media campaign may follow right after. It's important for each person to know what their job is and how that affects the next project.

The postseason is a very exciting time for teams still vying for the World Series title. While there might be butterflies and anxiety at an all-time high, it's important for everyone to keep their cool. By now, managers have given pep talks and done all they can to prepare their players. It's up to the team to do their part individually, but also work as a collective group to achieve the overarching goal. If executives can take with them some of these lessons from baseball managers, it will only increase their chances of winning the big one in the business world.

Reid Carr is president of Red Door Interactive, an Internet Presence Management firm with offices in San Diego and Denver that helps organizations profit from their Web initiatives. Clients include Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp, PETCO, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill and Cricket Communications. Connect with him at http://twitter.com/icowboy

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