My good friend and business associate Richard Scruggs, the Executive Director for the CNVE at Texas A&M recently wrote an outstanding article showing the comparison between Biggio’s successful career and a successful business career. You won’t want to miss this one. Thanks Richard for your sage and wise thoughts!
On June 28, 2007, Houston Astro Craig Biggio joined an elite group of ball players becoming just the 27th person ever with 3000 hits in a major league career. As an Astros season ticket holder for years and a fan since I can remember, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Biggio play over the years. While I wasn’t always happy with the Astros’ performance, I have always been impressed with the way Biggio plays the game.
As the media coverage began to build in the days leading up to his 3000th hit and afterwards, a lot was said about how Biggio approaches the game. Reporters talked about how he “respects the game” and conducts himself with poise and character. As a fan, I have seen the same thing. Sitting in the stands one recent evening I reflected on what I have seen and the parallels that apply to business. For example:
- Biggio: He has worn only one major league uniform. Publicly he supports his teammates, management and owners.
- Business: The days of one company careers are long gone but respect and company loyalty are not. Loyalty means adopting your company’s goals as your own and giving 100% towards their attainment. It means supporting your company, management and co-workers publicly. Sometimes it means standing up for your organization to make sure it gets a fair shake.
Prepare, Do the Hard Work
- Biggio: At 41 years old, he is competing with players half his age in a demanding game with a grueling schedule. He is known for showing up to spring training ready to go and arriving early on game day. He puts in the time exercising, practicing and preparing for opponents. He never goes into a season or game unprepared.
- Business: The parallels in business might be education and research. We can’t write the best proposal if we haven’t been educated on sales and researched our target customer. We can’t provide the best coaching and mentoring to young employees without a training and preparation. Business people are always “doing” and little time is given to “practicing”. The better performers figure out how to work in a little practice time and do their homework before acting.
Run Out Every Hit
- Biggio: Long fly ball or sharp infield grounder, he is running full bore towards first base – even when all 42,000 fans know he’ll be thrown out at first.
- Business: If you decide to go after a new business pitch, make a run at a new employee or radically revamp your business…run it out. Carefully decide where you’ll spend your time and resources and then go for it…give it your all…run it out, don’t jog.
Poise, Calm, Character
- Biggio: He has been in bigger pressure cookers than most business people ever experience yet rarely loses his cool. When he does lose it, you get the idea that it was a calculated move to make a point. He always conducts himself with integrity. In this time when there are many questions about people in sports, nobody questions Biggio’s character.
- Business: Rarely does losing your cool in business pay off. Same thing with trying to take shortcuts or relaxing your values to attain a goal. In the end, you only have your reputation and your company’s reputation. Don’t blow it.
Whatever it Takes
- Biggio: Has played three different positions and has no problem being the guy at the plate with the game on the line. He has been hit by more pitches than anyone has in the modern era of baseball, showing that he’ll “take one for the team”.
- Business: We all need players on our team that will do whatever it takes – people that will play multiple roles, who will pitch-in in a crisis, go the extra mile for a customer, rework a proposal one more time, make one more phone call or listen to one more employee. We don’t need people that say, “it’s not my job”, “its five o’clock” or “I don’t travel”.
I could go on and talk about Biggio’s high standards, quiet leadership style, willingness to take responsibility, putting team wins ahead of personal accomplishment or legendary community involvement. I could also tell you that he is famous, yet approachable – on Halloween last year he sat in the front yard passing out candy and taking pictures with kids (just ask my daughter!). You get the idea. All of these attributes make a great ball player. They also make a great entrepreneur, business leader and employee.
Think about how you approach the game of business…do you set an example for others, prepare like there is no tomorrow, run out every play, maintain your poise, conduct yourself with integrity?
What about your company? Does the culture encourage people to “respect the game” as well? Do people come in prepared and give 100%?
If not, chances are you or your company are not as successful as you would like. The good news is that most of these attributes are the result of attitude and hard work – both of which are in your control. No special training or investment is required!