What is your organizational RISP?

As we head into the beginning of June we will start to experience a few things that make this my favorite time of the year.  School has ended and the traffic here in the area will subside just a little.  I also have my birthday to look forward to in early June and Father’s Day is not far behind.  Without a doubt, the best reason to look forward to early June is the NCAA College Baseball Tournament, better known as the Road to Omaha.  Omaha, Nebraska is the site of the College World Series and it will be for many more years to come.  Making the field of 64 teams that play for a chance to make that journey is a thrilling experience and I’ll be in my seat at Hawkins Field this weekend as my team, the Vanderbilt Commodores, play in their own regional with three other worthy opponents.

The business world has challenging events daily and knowing how your players perform in the key events is very important.  Baseball is a game of statistics and a few of them are widely known.  Here are just a few:

  • Batting Average
  • Home Runs
  • RBI
  • Stolen Bases
  • Wins
  • Losses
  • ERA-Earned Run Average
  • WHIP-Walks + Hits per inning pitched
  • RISP-Batting average with runners in scoring position

Most of the statistics I listed above are widely known.  WHIP and RISP are a little less known and we will use the RISP metaphor today to compare baseball with business.

Hitting for average is important in baseball and so too is having a high success average in business.  We sometimes predict the future based on the past and sports, like business, use this past performance as a predictor of future success, or failure.

Baseball players who get one hit out of every three official at bats often make the hall of fame.  Even more important is how you hit with runners in scoring position.  Runners in scoring position are runners on second or third base when you come to bat.  Taking advantage of these opportunities will spell the difference between winning and losing in most every case.

Business is the same.  Doing the right thing, making the right choice, when things are running at a normal pace is expected in business.  Having a low stress or no stress environment doesn’t put any pressure or expectation on anyone to deliver in the clutch.

The true performer, on the diamond or in the office, is someone who can knock in those base runners when they are in scoring position.  Business dictates that we understand the situation and do what it takes to get the desired result within the rules of the game, no differently than we do in baseball.  Things get a little tense when you have others on base or in the workplace who are counting on you.  You know, they know, and others know when the right move, the right decision needs to be made, especially in a high stress or pressure packed environment.  Having to decide when to expand, contract, change or adjust is challenging and is similar to having a high RISP in baseball.  Baseball teams want players who deliver in these challenging situations and business owners want the same.

Take the time to reflect, and even measure, how you and your team deliver when you have runners in scoring position, or “ducks on the pond” as we so often say on the diamond.

Anyone can deliver when things are going well.  You and your business need players, key contributors, who deliver in the clutch.  You need team members who can understand what is at stake and who can deliver the winning hit when everything is on the line.

What is your RISP?  What are you doing to increase your opportunities for success?

When I come back next time we will talk about strategies for taking advantage of these key situations.  No one remembers who played well when things were easy.  Everyone remembers who got the key hit, who made the key decision or move, when times were tough.