Making History

Last week we posted a blog about Vanderbilts first ever performance in the College World Series. This week I have been driving back and forth between Kansas City and Omaha to take in all of the amazing sights and experiences associated with this great event in their brand new stadium. If you have never been I highly recommend it. Good old fashioned entertainment, friendly crowds, and easy to navigate city. This entire opportunity has been a blessing and a teacher of some lessons worthy of sharing.

1. Having a shared mission brings you closer.  The team was already close before they got to Omaha. This week has been a chance for parents and fans to meet, and share events that will create memories that last for a life time. A common goal that everyone enthusiastically supports is critical to a positive outcome. This extended team creates a better experience and likely a better outcome than might have been achieved without it. Do you get your whole organization behind the goal or only those who directly touch it?

2. Believing is achieving. This team knows they can win. It is not ego, it is confidence. It is not an individual conviction of each individual player but a belief in the collective quality of the team. They know if they don’t get a hit, someone else will. If they aren’t pitching at their peak capability, the bull pen is deep with talent. That confidence in the team, the collective talent, has allowed this team to go far. Don’t let anyone believe in themselves more than they do the team. It takes a team to achieve the goal.

3. Learn from mistakes but don’t dwell on them. This team has committed errors, pitchers have walked batters, and and runners have been picked off base. Even more they have lost games they should have won. You can stew over it, or you can learn from it and put it behind you. Worrying doesn’t make you better. Learning how to hit a curve ball, what your nemisis strengths and weaknesses are, how to position your feet so you don’t get cleated while tagging out a runner sliding into base–those things make you better. This team doesn’t make excuses, pout or blame others. They learn and move on, applying what they learned next time.  And there always is a next time. In organizations today, we need to do the same.

This team has made history. Not only are they the first Vanderbilt team to make it to the College World Series, they are now in the final four. They opened up a new stadium and as a result, contributed the first home run, triple, double play and strikeout to the record books. Great teams make great moments happen.

What observations would you make from watching or participating in great sporting events that we can apply to the business setting?

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