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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How a Benchwarmer Won the Game

By: Gail Stout Perry

A rarely-used Major League Baseball backup player who spent the entire game (and most of the season) on the bench made a game-winning play…from the bench.  Yes, you read that correctly. It wasn’t a highly paid player on the field.  The game was won by someone sitting on the bench.  How is this possible?  

Sitting in the dugout, Detroit Tiger Hernan Perez spotted that a Kansas City Royals runner failed to tag 3rd base on a crucial play. That set off a sequence that resulted in an out instead of the go-ahead score for Kansas City as Detroit beat the Royals 3-2.

''I have to give credit where credit is due,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''Hernan Perez was the guy who initially noticed it, sitting on the bench watching the game.''  This was a rare and newsworthy event.

Perez understood the big picture and found a way to contribute to the win.  This focus on the big picture (the team was playing to win) is what we call strategic thinking.  He was paying attention to the game, not just to his primary job function to be mentally and physically ready in case the coach sent him into play.

By keeping his head up with his eyes on the game, he saw an error that could help his team achieve their goal of winning.  And he took action to call attention to it.  This action, from the bench, resulted in Detroit winning the game.

Similarly, every member of an organization has a unique vantage point - they may be positioned to see things that others don’t see. The question is, will they understand what the bigger picture meaning of what they see?  Will they take action?  

Even those who are not direct contributors, those in support functions, need to understand the game plan of your business.  If they understand what you are trying to accomplish and how you intend to get there, they may surprise you with their ability to contribute to the achievement of your goals from their unique vantage point.

Do you struggle to help support staff feel involved in the “real business” of your organization? Do you ever wish you could get your employees to understand the big picture and independently take action to help you succeed toward long-term goals, no matter what their current job is?   

To learn more about how to translate your strategy into something that is clear and easy to communicate in a way that employees can understand and effectively contribute to, we invite you to explore The Institute Way:  Simplify Strategic Planning & Management with the Balanced Scorecard.  

Or contact us and let us show you how.

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Gail Stout Perry

Gail Stout PerryGail Stout Perry

Gail is co-author of The Institute Way with over 20 years of strategic planning and performance management consulting experience with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations. Other posts by Gail Stout Perry

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