“Batting lessons” for business owners- Part 1

When my sons were younger I helped coach their little league baseball teams. Fortunately for all concerned- other fathers who knew a lot more about baseball than I did were willing to help out.

As a coach I noticed that when a hard, round object is being thrown 60 to 70 miles per hour at a 14-year-old boy, it causes a lot of “nervous energy” to build up inside him!

Sometimes he’d work out that nervous energy by moving around in the batter’s box while waiting for the ball to arrive. We called this “dancing in the batter’s box.” This dancing is bad since it wastes a lot of energy, causes the batter to lose his concentration, and diminishes his ball-hitting power.  So it is important for the batter to plant his feet so he can get a solid swing at the ball.

Well, I’ve seen lot’s of business owners dancin’ in the batter’s box when it comes to making decisions in their companies. When considering the business fastballs we get thrown at us today I guess some “dancing” is no surprise.

The temptation is to dance around by reasoning, “If I don’t make a decision on this, at least I won’t make a costly error.” But when you consider the wasted energy, the slowed momentum, and the lost opportunities that occur by not making decisions the costs can be huge.

So in this post (And maybe another one- who knows?) I’ll share some coaching lessons that might help you avoid “dancin’ in the batter’s box”.

Lesson #1: Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities that are thrown your way. In baseball the batter just “keeps his eye on the ball”. But a baseball hitter has an advantage over a business owner. A batter can see when the pitch is going to be thrown and he can see what direction it’s coming from.  However…

In business opportunities can come from many different directions AND all at the same time!  PLUS many times opportunities can be hidden.  So it is up to you to recognize business opportunities and be prepared to take advantage of them.

So plant your feet and take a swing at the opportunity. Ask yourself, “What’s the worse that can happen if I miss?” Otherwise, you might let opportunity after opportunity pass you by while you’re waiting for that elusive “perfect pitch” that never arrives!

Here’s an example: You have an opportunity to bring a particularly good salesperson on board. But you’re concerned your sales volume won’t allow you to support his or her  salary. So you start dancin’: “Do I bring him on board and risk losing money? But if I don’t hire him will I miss sales opportunities because he’s not on board? And if I wait to hire him, will he find something else and not be available when I do decide to hire him?”

So stop your dancin’ and realize that the first important decision here is not whether you should bring him on board. Rather, it’s simply DECIDING one way or the other and then MOVING in that direction.

Now practice lesson #1 this week and then next week we’ll work on two more lessons.

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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