Growing up, the start of baseball season was my favorite time of year. It signaled summer was upon us and, selfishly, it gave me more time with my dad who was a great coach.
As a lefty pitcher, one of the things I learned early on was the value of having more than one pitch. Pop taught me that for a pitcher, being predictable always leads to problems.
Over the next few weeks there will be hurlers at all levels, from Little League to the Majors, who will be working on mastering multiple pitches. Even the most dominant pitcher in the world would not be arrogant enough to think he could throw only fastballs and expect to strike out every hitter.
As leaders, we need to appreciate the principle of the Change Up. In business, like in baseball, predictable usually leads to problems. While there is nothing wrong with being simple, if you want to be great, you have to sometimes do things differently.
The crazy thing about a Change Up is it is much slower than a fastball. You would think that would make it much easier to hit, causing a pitcher to yield to fear and refuse to throw one. However, when used in the right situation, the Change Up can be almost impossible for a hitter to even touch. The best pitchers are the ones who have prepared for “the change” and then have the courage to trust their convictions.
I know what is going through your mind: “This is the way we’ve always done it.” “How can I try something so unfamiliar to my team or my customers?” “This feels much too simple compared with what we normally do best.” All thoughts that will tempt you to stay predictable.
I’ll admit, you want to be predictable when it comes to your level of excellence – think consistency. However, if you begin to worship routine and what worked in the past, you can expect to become obsolete in a changing world. Let’s face it, employees get bored, your competitors lure people away, and we live in a culture that is full of distractions. The only way to combat complacency is to work on your Change Up.
I encourage you to set-aside some time, over the coming month, for your own Spring Training and work on a wider approach to what it is you are trying to accomplish. Perhaps a different schedule or location for important meetings? Maybe a new initiative or project? Possibly even expansion or a renewed emphasis on the growth of your organization?
It is okay to have a go to pitch, but if that is all you have you can expect to struggle.
Because predictable always leads to problems.
Tomorrow we will look at how the Change Up can also be a powerful tool for success in your family life.
Leadership Begins at Home,
What is something that can represent a change up in the life of a leader?
Comment below …
Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.