Busch Stadium in St. Louis at dusk

The (Business) Field of Dreams

I love the St. Louis Cardinals and they are going to the World Series, again!  That’s great news for a lot of us in the Midwest, especially for our office just down the road from Busch Stadium.BuschStadium_2006-05-30

All this World Series hype has me asking: Why am I such a fan? I realized one of the major reasons is the Cardinals’ approach to teamwork.

If you look up the definition of teamwork it’s this: the combined action of a group of people, esp. when effective and efficient.

I think a lot of people give lip service to the word “teamwork”, but few achieve it. If you Google “How can I get my team to work more efficiently and effectively together”, this is what you get:

  • Pick the right people
  • Understand their strengths and weaknesses
  • Align goals
  • Don’t allow anyone in that is subversive
  • And get everyone to communicate

But if you look at the Cardinals it’s so much more than that.  Here are some of my favorite examples of how they work as a team:

  • Trust – Not only do they trust that everyone will do their job and that no one will fail, they back each other up to make sure no one fails.
    • Example: The opposing team hits a fly ball to center field and the pitcher begins his walk to the dugout.  He knows Jon Jay will make the catch and if he doesn’t, Holliday will cover from left.
    • Business Translation:  Make sure everyone has a back up and is cross trained.  We have partnerships at Stealth, with everyone double checking everyone else’s work.
  • Mentoring- Senior Birds mentor the younger players.
    • Example:  Senior players are matched with more junior players to teach them the ropes, invest in their success.
    • Business translation:  Match new employees to more senior players for learning and sheep dogging.  Works every time.
  • In it for the team!
    • Example:  Teamwork trumps high payrolls as evidenced in the Cardinals /Dodgers series.
    • Business translation: Teamwork makes your junior players play like high-profile business executives—without the grandstanding.    Everyone is in it for the team.
  • Keeping Score and Analyzing
    • Baseball is a very statistical game, with the flurry of numbers affecting the most important thing—the score.  But baseball is a slow game with plenty of time to reflect and analyze what just happened.  Somebody once told me that baseball is a cerebral sport because of all the statistics, to which my football cronies say, “That’s (insert your favorite expletive) incredulous!”
    • Business translation:  Take time to reflect.  Think about what’s going well so you can do more of it. More importantly, be honest with yourself about what’s not going so well and start moving the curve in a more positive direction.

That’s why I love baseball and especially my beloved St. Louis Cardinals.  They have the teamwork I idolize and seek to emulate as a business owner.

by: Mindy Jeffries

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