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5 Lessons from Baseball to Be a Hero in Business

birdie-tebbetts-time-coverWith Game 6 of the World Series upon us, we found a fascinating article from Time entitled Sport: A Game of Inches. It’s from July 1957.

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It’s about George Robert Tebbetts who gave 53 years of his life to Major League Baseball – first as a player, then a scout and, finally, the manager of the Cincinnati Redlegs (as the Reds were known at that time).

He is better known by his nickname: Birdie. How did he get his nickname?

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the use of his middle finger!

The article says that his aunt observed that he had lips like a bird. Wikipedia says his aunt said he chirped like a bird.

We don’t know which source to believe, but they do both agree that his voice was irritating. According to the article, he got thrown out of a game because, as the umpire said, “I have a splitting headache and that voice of yours just kills me.”

Time awarded him the Manager of the Year honor in 1956 because of the way he had turned around his team. There are all kinds of lessons in this article about baseball, of course, but also about leadership, life and entrepreneuring.

There are also a number of great quotes by Birdie in this article. Quotes that make you think and quotes that make you realize how colorful he was.

Like his scouting report on a young pitcher, where Birdie said, “Major league stuff and a great arm. Screwy in the head. Eliminate head and I recommend. Get good surgeon.”

But our favorite quote is where the title of the article comes from:

“Baseball is a game of inches … a fellow gets up in the ninth and comes through with a liner between third and short — he's a hero. Two inches the other way and he's a bum because he hit into a double play.”

True in baseball. True in life. True in small business and entrepreneuring.

So here are 5 lessons from baseball about being a hero in business:

Prepare to be a hero
You select your bat. You practice … and practice … and practice some more. You have to know your competition almost as well as you know yourself.

Step up to the plate
You’ll never be a hero if you don’t put on your uniform. You’ll never be a hero if you don’t get out of the dugout. You have to step up to the plate. You have to risk striking out.

A lot of people never take their turn at bat. They have ideas but they never act upon them. They spend so much time preparing that they never get in the game.

Pick your pitch
You won’t be a hero if you swing at every pitch. You’ll strike out before the right one comes along.

Opportunities are all around you. Most of them aren’t worth your time.

There are prospects you could pursue. Pick the right ones for you, your products or services and your company.

There are projects you could initiate. Select the ones that will advance you the furthest toward your goals. Let the rest pass right by.

Don’t worry about the result
When you’re up to bat, you don’t know where the ball will go when you hit it. You can’t worry about that. You just have to focus on hitting it hard. 

You can’t make a prospect say “yes.”
You can give your prospect your best pitch.

You can’t force an employer to hire you.
You can give them every reason to put you on their roster.

Heroes know you can’t control results. You can only control your activity. So they focus on the activity and let the results take care of themselves.

You may not be a hero today but you can rest assured you will be a hero soon.

Inch your way forward.
Focus on getting a little faster, a little better, a little smarter every time you’re at bat.

Take away the lessons – from failure and success – to hit a grand slam the next time out! That’s bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we discuss why you should beware of killing your customers with kindness. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00516-110509.mp3

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(Image in today's post from Time.com)

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Engage Your Employees in 10 Syllables

0-building-blocksResearch shows it. We know it.

Engaged employees are more productive. Productive employees help us grow sales faster than costs. Therefore, engaged employees are key to increasing your bottom line.

How’s that for a logic exercise?

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Let’s discuss four words – which all begin with the letter “C” – that will help you engage your employees in ten syllables:

First, a one syllable word: Care
Really and truly care about your employees – not as workers, as people.

Throw the old adage about mixing business and friendship out the door. That’s yesterday’s mindset. For every time it bites you in the butt, there will be many times when it serves you well.

Let your people get to know you. Get to know your people individually, personally and professionally.

We work harder for people we like. We like people who care about us.

So genuinely caring creates a competitive advantage. Isn’t that something? It happens spontaneously, though. It’s not something that can be forced.

Second, a two syllable word: Converse

Talk with your employees. Find out what is going well and what isn’t. Discover what would help them do their jobs better.

We believe in open book management. However we don’t believe that you have to tell all of your employees all the details. Be positively real.

Leaders have more on their plate than ever. Everybody is trying to do more with less. But don’t neglect your people.

Get out from behind your desk a few times a day. Walk around. Spend some time chatting with your people. It’s probably the most productive thing you can do.

Conversation creates concord. Listening is one way to show your people you care. Many people assume the worst. Keeping them informed tames the beast.

Third, a three syllable word: Celebrate!
Our news media thrives on bad news. Do the opposite. Make a bigg deal of good news. Celebrate! Whenever your team does something spectacular, pause and enjoy the moment.

There’s an old management technique called management by exception. Try this instead – manage for exceptional. Highlight people on your team who have done something outstanding.

Share the credit liberally. It’s a rookie mistake to do otherwise. There’s almost nothing you can do to engage your employees that goes as far as a genuine “atta boy” or “atta girl”.

Celebration encourages continuation. It’s fun to play for a winning team. We can’t wait for the next game, for the next opportunity to show what we can do. We look forward to the next victory. So we can celebrate again!

Fourth, a four syllable word: Collaborate

Michael Jordan said it best: “Talent wins games; teamwork wins championships.”

Encourage your people to share their ideas. It will make your life as a leader much easier.

Great leaders make decisions but the best answers often come from their people. Your employees will be more engaged when they see their ideas being adopted. That leads to bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for the gift of your time today. Please join us next time when we ask, “Are you a volcano waiting to erupt?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00497-100909.mp3

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A Lesson on Crowds from Glee

tutors on tvWe did another installment of Tutors on TV on the show today. Here’s a summary of the conversation:

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We caught a recent episode of Glee. The phenomenal Jane Lynch plays the hard-nosed, track-suit wearing cheerleader coach Sue Sylvester. Sue also does a segment on leadership and problem solving for a local television station. A quote from that show caught our attention. She said:

"There's not much of a difference between a stadium full of cheering fans and an angry crowd screaming abuse at you. They're both just making a lot of noise. How you take it is up to you. Convince yourself they're cheering for you. You do that, and some day, they will."

Isn’t that a profound way to looking at the crowd? It made us think of our definition of bigg success – life on your own terms.

The crowd could be your friends, your family or your co-workers. It may be people you just met.

There’s a lot of noise out there and sometimes it drowns out the voice that you need to listen to the most – your own!

You'll have those in the crowd that cheer. And those in the crowd that discourage.

You'll have people in the crowd that cheer while they talk with you. Then they jeer when talking about you with someone else behind your back.

You’ll have some individuals in the crowd who will literally call you out. Why are you doing it that way? Why are you doing it at all? Why do you do it differently than everyone else?

You'll also have your own cheerleaders. They lift you up during introductions at networking events. They point to your expertise on social media sites and recommend you to friends and colleagues.

Your crowd will also consist of your competition. They think they can do it better than you. They aren't better than you but they may market better than you.

And there will be those in the crowd who are just plain lazy. They will lie about you in an attempt to beat you.

You can't please everyone so crowd control is very important to help you keep pushing towards the goals you have set for yourself. Here are five tips to control your crowd:

Turn your back on the crowd

Sometimes you just have to turn away and tune them out to stay true to yourself.

Work the crowd
State your goals plainly so they can cheer you on. Make sure they know when you have achieved one of your goals.

Beware of the roar of the crowd
Be careful that you don't become addicted to their praise. Remember you are doing this for you. If you rely on their cheers, you may fall off your path.

Run with the right crowd
Surround yourself with people who are passionate about achieving their goals. We call these people bigg goal-getters.

Stand out in the crowd
Don't be afraid to be different. Show the crowd that it can be done, your way. After all it’s your life on your terms. That's bigg success!

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for checking in with us today. Please join us next time when we offer up some tips on cutting overhead. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00491-092909.mp3

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The First Question Entrepreneurs Must Ask

questionYou are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life. Entrepreneuring your life is a process. It’s a journey to a destination.

You design the life you want and find your path to get there. A good opportunity is the vehicle to take you down that path. Entrepreneurs know that a good opportunity provides a reasonable return for the risk assumed.

A lot of people are surprised at the first return the entrepreneur must worry about. So many prospective entrepreneurs ask the wrong question when looking for an opportunity.

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This involves a business, but you could apply the same thinking to a career. The wrong question to ask first is:

How do I make money?

The question you should ask is:

What problem can I solve?

If you find enough people who have a problem and the money to spend to correct it, you may have found your opportunity.

The first return is societal

So the first win for an entrepreneur is actually a win for his or her customers. You won’t be successful if you don’t solve a problem for enough people.

It’s a societal return. A group of people, the entrepreneur’s customers, get a problem solved. The first return that entrepreneurs create is a return for others.

An attractive vision

This first return is what helps entrepreneurs with another group of essential stakeholders. We saw a great article awhile back over at the Harvard Business blog. Stew Friedman said, “Serve others and others will want to serve you.”

We love it!

He’s talking about leadership in general, not just entrepreneurs. He says that people who talk about their own achievement don’t inspire action in others.

Action is inspired by talking about how you are helping others. So the lesson here for us entrepreneurs is this:

If you want to attract an inspired group of people to work with you on your vision, talk about how you’re helping others.

People want to feel like they’re part of something bigger – bigger than them, bigger than the company. They want to feel like they are making a difference in people’s lives.

As an entrepreneur, you must communicate how your organization does that – how do you make a difference in people’s lives? When you do that successfully, your employees will become more engaged in the success of your business. That’s bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we ask, “Is change really dead?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00477-090909.mp3

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The Surprising Thing Others Expect from You

ug_of_war.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. When we talk with people about their biggest challenge in living their lives on their own terms, one of the most common responses involves work – life balance in one way, shape or form.

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The tug-of-war

For many of us, it’s a perpetual tug-of-war. We love our family. We thoroughly enjoy our time with friends. We relish time to ourselves.

But we also love the work we do. We take pride in our accomplishments. Rightly so.

But we’re only human. We can’t be two places at once.

The result? We’re not as happy as we should be. We’re not completely fulfilled.

It may cause feelings of guilt. Depending on where the knot is in the tug-of-war we’re playing – which side is getting more attention – we may feel guilty about not giving enough attention to the other side.

When we’re at work, there are times when we may feel guilty about not being home. When we’re home, we may feel guilty at times about not working. It seems like a no-win situation!

The sacrifice

Research shows in our effort to have it all we’re sacrificing something that’s very important to our well-being: sleep.

So we end up dragging at work. Or we’re spent before we get home. By the time we get there, have dinner and do some household chores, we only have enough energy to crash on the couch.

But we keep pushing. Day after day, we push to the point of exhaustion until, finally, something inside of us says, “Enough!”

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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The surprising thing

Stewart Friedman is a Professor at Wharton and the author of a fantastic book on leadership. It’s called Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life.

In his research, he has uncovered an answer to this work – life balance problem. It has to do with a surprising thing others expect from you. They expect … drum roll please …

Less!

Dr. Friedman’s research shows that other people expect a lot less of us than we think they do. In many cases, they’re not the ones putting the pressure on us. We’re putting undue pressure on ourselves!

You are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life. Just like any entrepreneur, communication with your key stakeholders is crucial.

  • Talk about expectations. Great entrepreneurs have these conversations with their employees. They talk about expectations with their investors. Follow that example – have a conversation about expectations with the key stakeholders in your life.
  • Discuss options. Ask for their help in discovering options so you meet their expectations.
  • Reach an agreement about respective participation in each other’s lives. Think of it as a service level agreement.

You’ll come away with a clear understanding of the expectations the most important people in your life have of you. Then you can focus on scheduling your days to meet those expectations. Or better yet, exceed them. After all, this is the community for bigg goal-getters!

Thanks so much for the gift of your time today.

We’ve heard over and over again that money can’t buy happiness. Please join us next time when we ask, “Can happiness buy money?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00445-072409.mp3

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(Image in today's post by KevinKLuu)