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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 a career spanning over 30 years of strategic planning and performance management consulting with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations, she enjoys speaking, training, and writing, sharing her experience with others. She currently is the Chief Strategy Officer and VP Americas for Corporater.

Other posts by Gail Stout Perry

Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Gail is co-author of The Institute Way. With a career spanning over 30 years of strategic planning and performance management consulting with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations, she enjoys speaking, training, and writing to share her experience with others. She currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer & VP Americas for Corporater. www.corporater.com

Gail became interested in operations, efficiency and patterns as a toddler struggling to participate in her mother’s kitchen.

“I tried to explain to my mother how to better organize her kitchen. She was wasting motion plus the kitchen wasn’t user friendly to me, its newest user who could not reach the things I needed to be self-sufficient—so, she had to help me. Mom could have saved herself work if she’d accepted my recommendations.”

During her career in aerospace and defense, Gail developed deep experience in operations, finance/accounting, information technology, human resources, purchasing/inventory management, manufacturing, engineering design, and sales and marketing. Today she consults with Fortune 500 companies, large military commands, government agencies and nonprofits.

“My diverse experience helps me be a better consultant by bringing new ideas and solutions to my clients when I see a connection or pattern to something I’ve experienced or observed in another industry/sector. There are common denominators, operations and issues across organizations. Just last month, I heard the same operational issue from a Fortune 150 and a city municipality—two organizations that couldn’t be more different.”

With clients in diverse sectors all over the globe, Gail’s adept at quickly understanding business models and cultural norms, and creating a positive impact. Prior to joining the Institute, Gail owned and operated Perry Consulting LLC, a North Texas firm focused on providing performance improvement consulting services to the nonprofit sector. It was in this role that she first realized the transformational power of an integrated strategic balanced scorecard while working with her client, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to improve its strategic planning, performance management, budgeting, and employee alignment processes.

“I’ve learned how to quickly absorb information and get my head around an organization, what it does, how it does it, its key processes and challenges, and learn its unique culture and language. And I have a way of explaining things that makes the seemingly complex simple.”