Want to Get Ahead at Work?

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A short story on how baseball life imitates business life. While watching a Double A minor league game last night, I saw a play that illustrates how teamwork matters, especially with the Little Things. Runner on second, line drive that splits the gap of the outfield. The runner rounds second and is waved home by the third base coach. He scores but he doesn’t slide, narrowly missing getting tagged out as he comes in standing up. Why didn’t he slide? Because he got no signal from his teammate, who was not standing near the plate, giving the slide signal, as he should have. No. He was lazily swinging his bat in the on-deck circle, waiting for his turn at-bat. When I started playing Little League at age 8 in 1971, the coaches taught us two hand signals: both hands over your head meant to come in standing up; both hands moving quickly from head level down to the ground meant to hit the dirt and slide. This was taught to me at every level of baseball and I taught it to every kid I ever coached.

Get to the plate, watch the throw coming in and help your teammate score by sliding if necessary or running across home plate if not. This batter could not be bothered to do something that would benefit both his teammate and his team. Talking to some people I know who scout the club, this explains why, with all his talent, he’s still in Double A ball and not Triple A or the major leagues.

Little things matter, in sports, business, and life. I’ll hire the person who puts his or her shopping cart away in the parking lot rack, over the person who just leaves it to block a parking space, or worse, dent a car. I’ll promote the person who shows up early for his or her promotional interview, not the person who shows up “only a few minutes late; sorry, there was traffic.” As Tony Robbins always says, “You are where you want to be. You are doing what you want to do.” Your actions speak louder than your words. Want to succeed? Do the Little Things that successful people do.


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