Hello Hello!! Happy Independence Day!! I’m living in the USA!! So, as we head to the dog days of summer-it has been hot, hot - HOTT up in the 860, and those early evening walks with my oldest boy Maxwell John are basically a 2nd workout, it got me thinking about two things I love – baseball particularly the Major League leading best record in baseball Boston Red Sox, and business in particular building relationships centered on trust. And it just so happens that earlier this year right around Opening Day, my friend Annette Rogers, Director, MBA Program at the University of Hartford, invited me to speak to her MBA class about… “ trust and building a relationship with your customers” So since I’ve got my mind on my business and the Red Sox and my business and the Red Sox on my mind!! Let me share some ideas thoughts random musings on the intersection of baseball and business!
Business, all businesses are made up of three things 1) Operations-team-equipment-location virtual and physical etc. 2) Finance-self-explanatory who’s watching-projecting-calculating the till..every dollar has a name! 3) Sales and Marketing- getting and keeping customers. Are these all making it easy for customers to come thru the turnstiles and stay! And ultimately become “raving fans” who naturally want to tell other people about you, and “Wow” everyone every time they touch you…and always “make it easy for folks to write checks to you”. ???
People are attracted to people they like…that’s a West Hartford Public education workin’ for me!...people work with people who are “like” them..as Dr. Robert Cialdini says “Liking - making friends to influence people. Uncover - similarities-areas for genuine compliments, opportunities for cooperation. Which allows for trust to be built. Which every baseball team must have. As well as a positive and certain mindset - a great hitter in baseball gets a hit 30-35% of the time..meaning he fails 60-65%, yet he goes to the plate each time believing he has got the skills to get a hit in that at bat. An example we use of “positive and certain” communication is when sending an email ending with “any questions call me” vs. “Do not hesitate to call”. Use a rising inflection answering/taking calls also demonstrates a positive service-oriented mindset…call WMGNA and you will hear “Good morning WMGNA! this is Daniel!”.(I’m not really allowed to answer the phone, as our telecom system was not built for lefties!)
The success of a business rides on always considering your products(services)/value to your customers when making decisions. Brian Goff economics professor and author describes how at one point “MLB-Major League Baseball let the All-Star Game devolve into a sort of ‘company softball game”. The embarrassment to MLB had been in the works for at least a decade as the ‘production’ of the game lost touch with consumer value” i.e. no one was watching, and sponsors don’t like that! You gotta give the people what they want!—your product has to be what your customers want, otherwise it will fail. We are constantly asking ourselves “what’s in it for our members” and “So what” to ideas we are considering…if a member says or even thinks “so what” to something…No Bueno!
The Platinum Rule! -Treat people the way they want to be treated (you must find that out tho) vs. The Golden Rule - Treat people as you would like them to treat you (which in most cases probably is fine..is that a “wow” every time tho?) Just like a ball club never stops adding, adjusting and evolving - what worked for the Red Sox offense 5 years ago with Big Papi in the middle of the lineup, en route to yet another World Series Championship in 2013, just might not work in 2018…first and foremost Big Papi ain’t in the middle of the lineup…he’s retired!...WMGNA vernacular Restyled! We talk about everything being subject to change based upon NEW information..now be careful not to fall into the “this time is different” syndrome …and even when change (and we know change is hard and sometimes impossible for folks) is brought upon by exogenous circumstance..or the old we are just looking at places in Naples…followed three days later with an email attachment of a contract for sale!—we always look to maximize the opportunities that exist!
Decision making. “Passivity guarantees failure” “Baseball managers and ball club make hundreds of decisions every day. Some of these decisions end up being decisions to do nothing…or as the band Rush says ‘If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice’..we often refer to this as benign neglect especially when it comes to investment management….but they are still worked through and analyzed and thrown against the wall and gut”. A baseball manager who is waiting for the perfect situation to come to mind is not managing, because while the manager is cogitating, the situation is evolving, the conditions for success changing.” Motion is better than mediation in this context…ready aim ready aim ready aim…needs to be followed by FIRE!
Proactive vs. Reactive..are you, have you “lived your customers life” and thus can anticipate needs..wants..desires?? Find out what people want…start by asking them!...tell them why you do something-why they need to do something. As Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”. It’s about getting to the heart of the matter, the reason behind the reason. What’s important about____(money) to you? A cancer surgeon prior to life threatening surgery..a great one..finds out what’s important about living to her patient..the why!
“In baseball , you have to try to win today, this season, while at the same time building for the future and building the chance for future success”. We use the term “best chances for success” when implementing strategies, i.e. a well thought out tax plan considers all current 2018 tax savings, while also accounting for 2023…2028 taxes and beyond. “A ballclub should never mortgage the future for the present, or the present for the future” (one of my favorite sport biographies from my youth “The Future is Now” great read on this, about the famed 70’s Washington Redskins head coach, George Allen) There are only two things we can do with money, spend it now or spend it later, or someone else can spend it later!
Time to wrap this up-Sox game is about to start!!, with quotes form one of my favorite books, recommend by a business coach many moons ago “Reflections on the Art of Living”, which resonates professionally as well as personally. A real tour de force!
“The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come”.
“If we fix on the old we get stuck-when we hang onto any form, we are in danger of purification”.
“Destruction before creation”
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! Talk soon. Keep the Faith!