Over the past decade and a half, baseball has transformed from a sport founded on tribal knowledge of how to win to using almost every conceivable metric to build a winning franchise. While the league is still a league where the clubs with deep pockets can literally buy wins, there are exceptions. Author Michael Lewis’ 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a study in how a small-market team like Oakland can compete with teams like New York and Boston. The 2011 movie version is pretty good too – and has some great scenes of old-school vs. new school in the game. I highly recommend both for any leader.
As baseball is ramping up for spring training, the off-season free-agent market is still underway. Several big-name sluggers are still on the market looking to ink monster contracts with a team ready to contend for the title. While the sluggers get most of the press, this article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye: One of the Worst Hitters in History Is Now a Hot Commodity by columnist Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond).
Catcher Jeff Mathis, age 36, and with a career batting average of .198 (which is the second worst in baseball history of batters that have at least 2500 plate appearances), just signed a two-year deal with Texas for $6.25M. The Rangers clearly were not looking for his batting output, so why did they sign him?
As the article shows, quite simply, he makes everyone around him better -particularly the pitching staff.
He is what the military would call a force-multiplier. Through his experience, knowledge and abilities behind the plate, he produces greater long-term results for his team. Baseball is only now building the data set to quantify the impact a catcher like him can have. This explains why his value is increasing later in his career, despite his lack of offensive output.
We named our company after guys like Jeff – the rivets who hold everything together for their teams. Their impact and value might not be obvious – but because of who they are or what they do, simply make everyone on their team play at a higher level.
Jeff's impact is missed often after he is traded to another team.
Something we hear often at The Rivet Group.
Employers routinely undervalue their rivets, by focusing on the wrong metrics to measure their employees or taking for granted, or being oblivious or to all they really do for their company.
Which is why they reach out to us to find their next team.
If you are a leader – you need to pay attention to the rivets on your team to make sure they are valued (through consistent feedback, gratitude, and compensation).
In baseball, free-agent trades are rarely a surprise – teams know when a player’s contract is up. For regular employers, managers do not get that luxury – just a two-week notice that your star employee is leaving. But unlike baseball, if you if you do your job well, they'll stay for their career, and you'll be playing for a championship every year.
If you are feeling undervalued by your team, or simply ready for your next career move, we'd like to hear from you. Likewise, if you are building a championship team and need some key players, we'd like to help.
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