In the chilliest depths of winter, there’s one bit of hopefulness that always reminds us spring will come again soon enough: the countdown to opening day and the start of your favorite baseball team’s spring training camp. As a metaphor for rebirth and renewal, it’s hard to beat.
For players, it’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin again, with a fresh outlook. For the team’s front office, spring training offers a chance to carefully assess the team, and decide if an infusion of additional talent might help spur the team’s success in the coming season.
The same dynamic holds true in our professional lives.
Just as teams like our Cleveland Indians occasionally wander into the free agent market to search for a crucial missing piece to their championship puzzle, successful companies tend to be constantly scanning the talent pool for impact players that can make a real difference, players that can take them from good to great.
A successful baseball GM doesn’t treat acquiring talent as a periodic task that rises to a priority only when an opening in the lineup develops, but rather as a constant part of his job. Assembling a talent pipeline, even when you have no immediate openings, is how any successful organization operates.
In major league baseball, there is a formal process for developing talent. It’s called the minor league system, where fledglings can be coached and shaped for a shot at the big leagues. But of course most businesses don’t have that kind of formal structure. Nor do most organizations have the kind of explicit down time that baseball organizations enjoy in the form of an off season. Instead of that pre-set rhythm of renewal, they must find a way to renew their talent pool at regular intervals that aren’t necessarily tied to the calendar.
Many companies tap trusted executive search and recruiting firms to help develop their talent pool and build their bench. And just as in baseball, the most successful companies do that routinely on an on-going basis, so they have access to strong candidates when an opening occurs.
I recently had the opportunity to assess with a client their current sales team lineup, bench strength and what a free agent impact player could mean to helping them reach and exceed their 2019 revenue goals. After a series of assessments, we decided to go into the free agent market in search of their next “big league sales star.” I applaud our client for recognizing this need, trusting our consultative approach and making the decision to invest in improving their team.
When my Cleveland Indians get to the playoffs, it’s easy after a long, grueling season to forget what set the foundations for that success. But veteran baseball fans know much of it came from the professional development, talent assessment and free agent recruitment of the final pieces of a team. When you do all those things correctly, your organization tends to be successful.
The same holds true in any business. You won’t succeed without assembling the proper mix of talent. Perhaps this game, which has often been called the national pastime, is also a pretty good guide to our work life as well.
By Stuart Glassman
Stuart Glassman is a Senior Vice President and Practice Leader at Torch Group. As a member of the Torch Group leadership team, Stuart leads the Manufacturing and Building Products Practice Group, heads up all the firm’s marketing initiatives and oversees Torch Group client development. Leveraging a 25+ year career of marketing and brand building for Fortune 500 companies for both B2C and B2B industry leaders across a wide array of industries, Stuart shares his views on things he loves including business, executive search, marketing, sports, exercise, dogs and an occasional great cigar.
- Posted by Stuart Glassman
- On March 12, 2019
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