Baseball has always been a joy for me. I started playing organized ball when I was 5 years old and continued through college. The smell of the grass, the feel of a bat in your hands, and the mental toughness needed to compete at the highest levels were always a draw for me. My son Bobby played too, which gave me the chance to share my passion through coaching and then learn to love watching him grow as his skills out-paced my coaching ability.
Whether playing or watching, I feel like baseball always brings out the best in me. It's a thinking man's sport where skills alone won't get you through 162 games. It's a place where "grinders" can become MVPs and bonus-babies may not have the make-up between the ears to realize their physical talents.
Of all sports, I think it's the one that most resembles business. Unlike football, where you get a fresh start every weekend, baseball goes on and on. You need to not only have a plan that will get you through the whole season, but also a process that will allow you to adjust regularly based on the last game’s results.
Take Adrian Gonzales of the LA Dodgers, for example. What separates Adrian from other players with similar skills is his preparedness and willingness to be a student of the game. Everyone who speaks of him marvels at his ability to know how the pitcher plans to get him out and adjust his approach accordingly. His techniques are not magic, just a lot of hard work.
Gonzales has been known to request video clips of each opposing pitcher and the at bats against him, as well as others with similar styles. He reviews the tapes before every game and then immediately goes to the cage to work out the kinks. Don’t you think the fact that Gonzales does all this extra work reviewing his performance and making adjustments might be worth an extra few hits a week?
Think about that in the context of what we’re trying to accomplish on our team. While we have a game plan, it's a long "season" and we're going to need to make adjustments. Those adjustments will come from me, and maybe other colleagues, but the most important ones will come from you. As you go about your daily tasks, I challenge you to be a thinker and a master of preparation and review.
In the context of our business, what can you be doing on a daily basis to get that extra hit or two a week? Think about what you can do to have an impact, and hold yourself to that standard. I'm a big proponent of personal accountability. It's not just about showing up – it's what you do with your time that counts.
Not every day is going to be great, but you can always go back to the “cage” to figure out what went wrong and correct it. You don't have to go it alone. Your manager and peers can help. Feel free to ask me, too. This way, you'll have more good days than bad, and we'll all be better hitters.
About the Author
As executive vice president of life sales distribution, Bob Klein is responsible for all of Ash Brokerage’s life, long-term care and disability income insurance sales. He is driven by his desire to help others get the most out of their natural gifts, and he gets the most satisfaction from seeing others grow and succeed.
No matter your role in a company, there’s one important factor to success in everything you do … CARE. You could be the most highly skilled person in your job, with more degrees, designations and experience than anyone else … but if you don’t care, your customers will never be happy. And if they’re not happy, they’re not coming back. And if they’re not coming back … Well, you see where I’m going.
Care is the No. 1 retention tool in business. Think about it! When you are a customer working with a service provider, what do you want out of the transaction?
All those things come from care. If you don’t care about your job, you won’t produce quality work, and your customers won’t feel supported and respected. Their satisfaction – or dissatisfaction – won’t be based on your knowledge or skill. It will come down to the delivery. You have to make them feel like they were important enough for you to care, or else they won’t care about coming back.
Would I be pleased if I were on the receiving end of my work?
Put that on a Post-It note and stick it on your desk. It’s essentially the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Right? So it all comes down to your character.
While we all like to think we have strong character, the truth is that there’s always room for improvement. We can always up our game. I’m a competitive person, so I make it a habit to always be looking for ways to make myself better than before.
They say the enemy of excellence is being average. Nobody wants to be a C-rated company, especially when we all have the potential to be an A-plus! So, if you want excellence in your work, stop worrying about having the latest and greatest products, prices or processes. And start worrying about care. Start by caring more about just one thing – one project, one client, one phone call, and I guarantee you’ll see the difference.
Tim Ash is known as a visionary in the financial services community. He is an industry leader who envisions a future where insurance is easy, affordable and an essential part of a sound financial plan. As CEO of Ash Brokerage, Tim has fostered an environment of success with team-focused empowerment and client-centered service. He has built a culture where people not only believe in what they do, but more importantly, they understand the reason behind their efforts. Everyone at Ash Brokerage knows their work makes a difference — in the lives of their clients and their communities.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.