A whole new ballgame: CXOs and I.T. (with a few baseball metaphors)

Leading a business is a lot like stepping up to bat: Sometimes you can point to the stands and hit a homerun. Other times you get a curveball you weren’t prepared for.

With spring in the air and the Major League Baseball season starting up, I thought it would be fun to look at the similarities between playing ball and being a CXO of a growing company.

(Just for fun, I’m shooting for at least a dozen baseball metaphors as I write this. If I miss any obvious ones, please add them to the comments section.)

Technology makes it a whole new ballgame

Baseball metaphors for business leaders

Right off the bat, I want to point out that technology has been a major change-up for both business and baseball in recent years. When done well, batters’ and business leaders’ actions improve based on metrics analysis.

For MLB players, the tools of success include tracking systems, neural mapping, and even a “FitBit for the bat.” (Read about how the PITCHf/x pitch tracking system tracks the velocity, movement, release point, spin, and pitch location for every pitch thrown in baseball, allowing analysts to compare pitches and pitchers at a detailed level.)

For SMB leaders, technology metrics include everything from monitoring alerts and ticketing systems to backup documentation and patch management. (Download a free copy of the CEO report: 8 Documents Your I.T. Staff Should Be Able To Provide Right Now (but they probably can’t).)

Only a bush leaguer would fail to adopt the technology tools that are necessary to succeed. Without them, we’d all be caught out in left field.

Executives need to step up to the plate

Since this is a business blog for C-level leaders, you may be wondering why I’m talking technology. Your I.T. guy is your company’s heavy hitter for tech issues, right?

The truth is, as a CEO, President, CFO, EVP, COO, or other top-level executive, you’re the cleanup hitter for your business. You’re always on deck, regardless of which department leader has day-to-day responsibility for any particular task.

Bret Anderson recently wrote that “CEOs must embrace technology or they’ll watch their company fail” (Do I.T. or Die: Why senior leaders must identify with Millennials and embrace technology). In other words, executives should be the MVP and lead their team to success.

It’s okay to take it one base at a time

Grand slams are exciting, but baseball teams usually win games by getting a man on first and moving him slowly around the bases. Businesses achieve success the same way—by purposefully and systematically achieving small goals.

Using the right technology (and implementing it correctly) makes sure you don’t swing and miss when you approach your company’s challenges.

Another advantage to a methodic approach to your company goals: You’ll be sure you have all your bases covered.

A good coach helps you knock one out of the park

Players may deserve the headlines, but baseball teams wouldn’t have much success without good coaches. From team manager to bench coach, bullpen coach, pitching coach, hitting coach, and first- and third-base coaches, even the best players look to a trainer for guidance on improving their game.

Businesses are the same. When a CXO wants to bat 1.000, he or she often finds it’s worthwhile to bring in a big-league coach. Business advisors, technology consultants, and management analysts all help to align your company’s resources and procedures with your goals and regulatory obligations. (Confirm how your technology supports your business: Learn about the NetGain Technologies Executive Workshop.)

Conclusion

Effective business leaders and successful baseball players both swing for the fences and lead their teams to victory. They use the tools available to them, from the latest technology to the greatest coaches.

(Have you been counting my baseball metaphors? Don’t forget–add anything I’ve missed to the comments section below.)

Now, Play ball!

One response to “A whole new ballgame: CXOs and I.T. (with a few baseball metaphors)”

  1. K.C. Cooper says:

    This was a fun read. You could add “Teamwork makes the dream work.” That seems to fit your idea that baseball and business are similar. And one of my favorites is “It is what you do before the season even starts that makes a champion.” Oh and “sacrifice bunt.”

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