But spring training is not just about the dawn of a new season, it is a return to the roots of the game where players, coaches, and management, not only set a vision for the year, but even more importantly, they get back to basics of the game. Whether it is a new player in a youth baseball league, a professional rookie, or an all-star veteran with decades of experience, spring training is an opportunity to get individuals and teams back to a core set of ideas and practices in an effort to make their organization great.
Baseball, like any art, is a host of fundamental skill sets developed through consistent practice and endless repetition—a foundation of drills that must be repeated over and over for it to become part of natural and unconscious skill set. Spring training is used as a time to get hearts, minds, and bodies into shape, through proper preparation.
Organizations would do well to look closely at baseball’s annual rite of passage from winter to spring. February is a great time for individuals and teams in the corporate world to get refocused on their personal and collective goals for the year. It’s also a great time to get back to basics, making sure they are executing the fundamentals of their responsibilities in the workplace, ensuring that they are aligned with the overall efforts of the organization.
Just this past week, The Ken Blanchard Companies celebrated what we call our Week of Excellence—an annual week to get together in departments and teams to briefly celebrate the accomplishments of the past year, but more importantly get focused on what we are trying to set out and accomplish for the coming year as an organization and as individuals. In years past, we would hold workshops that would orient newer employees to our core offerings and how those offerings fit our day-to-day operations.
It is also a great opportunity to hold workshops on emerging technologies and trends that may affect our business over the course of the next year, and how we might engage those trends and make them work to the benefit of our organization and clients. We are also often blessed to hear from our Founding Associates and remember our history that naturally reminds everyone what the purpose of our business is.
These annual celebrations are a great time to see friends and colleagues that we may have not seen in sometime. It’s a time to praise each other for a job well done in the previous year. But even more importantly, it helps us all get back to the basics of our work. It is our annual spring training!
Organizations and individuals around the world would do well to take a week each year to hold a “spring training” for their people to get their people refocused on why we do the work we do, and how to do it best. Excellence never comes easy, but it does start with a foundation of work ethic and fundamentals that we should never take for granted. Let us be properly prepared to answer that age-old spring call, “Play Ball!” Or is it, “Get to Work!”
Jason Diamond Arnold
Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action