Swing Batter Batter Swing

Dena Kirk, OTR/L, CEAS, CWCE

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech was not only inspiring, but relevant to the workplace.  Cal’s speech discussed commitment, preparation, teamwork, personal development, and pride.  Of course, we all remember when Cal broke Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played (usually known as “The Streak”) by playing 3 more years and reaching 2,632 consecutive games--virtually 15 straight years of starting every game. 

Cal’s idea of workplace commitment extends beyond perfect attendance. Cal stated that teamwork, leadership, work ethic and trust are all part of the game.  These principles are also part of the workplace.  It means consistently performing your job well by showing up for work every day and being proud of what you have accomplished.  Cal’s speech talked about how baseball imitates life and that everything that happens in baseball happens in life and everything that happens in life happens in baseball.  

1.                 NEVER MISS A PRACTICE

We all know those employees who call in for work because they have a stuffy nose or a headache or maybe they just don’t feel like coming to work.  Successful professionals never miss work.  They show up day after day and they are the ones who will wake up at 3:00 a.m. to shovel the snow out of their driveway, so they can still get to work on time. Perfect attendance isn’t rewarded much anymore; we don’t want sick employees coming to work and spreading illness. But we can recognize employees who are always prepared, pay attention to detail, strive to improve themselves, and take pride in their own work—no matter what their jobs.  As managers, supervisors and executives, we can inspire our employees and lead by example, the way Cal Ripken, Jr. does.

2.                 KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL

Keeping up with technological changes in the workforce and the increased need to multitask, we often think we need to “control” every aspect of our professional and personal lives.  We must be able to delegate tasks to other members of the team and let go of those things that are out of our control.  If we “keep our eye on the ball” we will be more successful with accomplishing those things we can control.

3.                 STEP UP TO THE PLATE

Everyone would admit that they have a lot to do and a lot on their HOME PLATE.  However, when opportunities arise, “step up to the plate” and offer to take on new projects, help other employees with work tasks and lead new initiatives for your company.  Be committed to excellence and be willing to handle the strikes and balls that come your way.

4.                 STEP OUT OF THE BATTER’S BOX

We often walk into meetings trying to “swing” at those strikes and we miss because we want to win.  Although we all have the goal of victory, we should strive for mutual satisfaction…think “win-win.  Many people approach a work situation with a personal agenda.  There is no “I” in TEAM.  No one can win by themselves.  That’s why it is important to “step out of the batters box.”  Workplace rules have changed and we should try to look at things from a different perspective and think out of the box.  We do not need to approach the situation as someone who is going to win.

5.                 WATCH OUT FOR THE CURVE BALL
Develop the skills of curveball hitters.  We need to be able to handle the unexpected and know how to professionally act when those curveballs cross the home plate.  In today’s unpredictable and chaotic workplace our reactions to these curveballs can teach us valuable lessons.  We often let our emotions get involved especially when we experience a conflict with a co-worker.  By removing our emotions and allowing time for reflection, we can clearly see the situation and then decide, if anything, what to do about it.   
6.                 HIT A HOME RUN
There are many opportunities that may arise within your company.  Be a role model and hit a home run.  Everyone who knows Albert Pujols knows that he is capable of hitting a home run any time at bat.  Every bat is an opportunity for him.  In relation, every day at work is an opportunity for us to use our talents to shape the culture of our organization.

Cal Ripkin Jr. was always thinking and devising strategies. His motto was his father’s: “If you take care of all the little things, you’ll never have a big thing to worry about.” It’s obvious that there are many workplace lessons that have been brought to us from the baseball diamond.  

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