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Business Lessons from Baseball: “What ‘America’s Pastime’ has to teach us about IT Staffing”

“It is a long process;” this reality is well known inside of the business world and getting anything meaningful done takes the better part of eternity. This certainly holds true in the IT staffing world. The truth is, things get done, but patience has lead to some of the greatest accomplishments in mankind’s storied history.

Stadium Seats

Anyone who has been to a baseball game will admit that it seems slow at times, and someone that doesn’t know what to look for can mistake it for two teams of people standing around for 90% of the competition. The stoic individual positioned just inside of the dugout is not moving slowly to force everyone to watch him, but is strategically controlling and guiding the game’s tempo to best suit his team’s strengths. His opponents may be better at playing a more up-tempo brand of hardball, but he can’t be phased by that; this is his team.

The connection between baseball and IT staffing
Baseball is a game of talent, strategy, and statistics. An individual can have all the talent in the world, but he or she may never prove to be an integral part of the team. Why? “Hard work beats talent every time if talent doesn’t work hard.” The tie-in to business here is obvious, but let us take a look at a few more things baseball can teach us about business and IT staffing.

Chemistry is key
Just because a player performed well somewhere else, does not mean that he or she will do the same for your team. People, in general, are highly affected by the environment in which they exist. If they don’t feel comfortable, supported, valued, etc., they may not give you the kind of results that you had expected based on their history.

So, try not to simply throw someone into the mix and expect that person to do well. Find out what they need to succeed, and do what it takes to make them comfortable. Please do not misunderstand; they don’t need to be given the power to control you. They do, however, need to be placed into an area where they can perform to the pinnacle of their abilities.

You can ask for help
Every professional baseball team implements scouting services to find hidden gems. Professional scouts know the ins and outs of the game and what makes up an All Star-caliber player.  Nearly 30 years ago, teams were hesitant to send scouts anywhere outside of the U.S. because they simply didn’t realize the amount of talent that existed elsewhere. A few teams branched out and started winning with players found in Latin America or other regions, then suddenly all teams were scouting international talent. Now, nearly 1/3 of professional baseball players come from outside the U.S. – thanks to a few teams finding value in the expertise of scouting agencies.

If professional teams seek outside assistance to fill their rosters with the most outstanding talent in the world, why shouldn’t IT Staffing firms be used in the same way? These agencies specialize in locating the best and brightest candidates, who are often not officially looking for a change. You may not see the point in working with an IT staffing firm now, but once you see what these IT candidates can do, chances are that your view will be changed.

See the BIG PICTURE
It’s easy to view baseball as a slow and boring game, but more experienced eyes see the truth; it is not slow, but methodical. Each pitch serves a purpose and builds upon the previous one. No lineup change is made before being analyzed by every member of the coaching staff. Slightly injured players are held out of a game so that they can be back to full strength for the next one. No matter how you slice it, baseball is a game of strategy, and strategy does not come without the ability to see what will happen next.

Business and baseball are one in the same. The success of each depends on the performance of a few. If a job isn’t getting done, ask what you can do to fix it before immediately assuming that it is the player’s fault. Business and baseball are team games that take the right combination of “players” – plus sound strategy – to realize their potential.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/franky242

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