I hope you started the new year with a spirit of enthusiasm and the knowledge that all things are possible, because they are.
As 2018 progresses, the news and information sources put women out front in the conversation. I reflected back over the years, when speaking up wasn’t easy for women. Many remained silent in business or their professional life for various reasons. As society changes, it’s good to see more women speaking up about the issues affecting them personally and professionally. The discussion commences and things begin to change.
I took a break from current affairs and decided to watch a movie that was recommended, Moneyball. This baseball-oriented (based on a real story) movie came out in 2011. I like hot dogs and apple pie, but I’d missed this one. As I sat there watching, the story became more than just baseball. It showed how one individual can make a difference in the lives of others. It was about the business within the game and how bold thinking and new ways of doing things could change everything.
I was intrigued. The lead character, Billy Beane, was a young, heavily gifted (I say he was blessed) baseball player who eventually becomes the GM of the Oakland Athletics. When he was in high school, scouts recruited him, wanting him to commit to their team. However, there was a catch. He could either go to college, or play professionally. The check they brought tipped the scales and the rest is history.
Billy Beane was and is a leader. When he became GM, it was challenging for his team, Oakland, to win games when other teams had talented players who gave them an advantage – and were paid significantly more than the A’s could afford. Beane needed to find a way to compete.
Beane met an Ivy League graduate, Peter Brand, and the two of them examined information on potential players analytically. The players they find – at bargain prices – were overlooked by other teams but DID have talent. Billy Beane and Peter Brand challenged the antiquated system of doing things. Oakland couldn’t afford superstar players, but they were able to build a team – a collection of players whose abilities complemented each other – that won 20 consecutive games and reached the playoffs five times in an eight year span.
Another strategy that was out of the ordinary – Beane cross trained his players. Those in business know cross training and focusing on individual strengths is advantageous for both the business owner and the employee. The outcome is added value, more productivity, and engagement.
Although Beane was met with resistance by his organization, he followed his instincts and the supporting evidence that statistics provided. He was on a tight budget but found a way to compete against other teams in a league with deep pockets.
You can see the comparison between baseball and business. We never stop learning. There’s always more than one way to accomplish your goals. Lead with character and integrity and embrace unique new ways of doing things. There are times when speaking up and moving forward requires a great deal of strength, courage and tenacity. Although most (or all) don’t understand what you are going through or what you’re thinking, you can be a trailblazer.
As women, we will continue to persevere to mountain tops of excellence wherever our hearts lead us, while setting an example.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying” ~~ Albert Einstein
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