Braves Baseball Sets the Example for Business Change Management
By: Earl Blackmon
Something incredible is happening with Atlanta Braves baseball. Whether you are a fan of this team or this sport, it’s worth taking a few moments to consider what I’m about to discuss, because there are some applications to our businesses.
For the past several years, it has been difficult to be a Braves fan. I say this as someone who follows the team on Twitter, watches as much of every game as possible, and listens to the off-season chatter to stay up-to-date through the year. They have struggled season after season to have a winning record. They certainly haven’t been playoff contenders.
Today, the Braves are currently in 1st place in their division. What makes this amazing is the planning that went into making this a reality. Just like in baseball, being proactive about changes in your business will lead to greater success. Check out my thoughts on the Braves and how it reminded me how Lean can be your change-maker.
Change Takes Time
The success of this team did not come overnight. It isn’t a miracle team or one or two super-star players who are responsible for the winning record. It is the dedication to a rebuilding process. Years ago, the Braves recognized they had a system that wasn’t successful and so they began working to change the process.
Similarly, when you recognize some part of your business needs to be changed, you cannot expect success to be immediate. You must commit to the process of change management. At hb&k, we have found incredible success in employing Lean Six Sigma to identify and address areas that needed change, and we are committed to continuous improvement to maintain this forward-looking mindset.
Utilize Talent with Fresh Ideas
Part of the rebuilding effort for the Braves has been to draft and develop young talent. Currently, the team has many younger players, including two 20-year-old’s who start in most games. These younger men don’t have the wisdom and experience as the more seasoned players, but they have new techniques and new ways of achieving success.
In business, when trying to change a process or system that isn’t working, bringing in “new talent” often happens in the form of asking a consultant to come work with you. Once you recognize a problem, outside expertise and guidance will help you get to a solution faster. Through Lean consulting, hb&k has helped companies across the nation recognize their inefficiencies and streamline their processes to create more revenue and better client satisfaction.
Even baseball, America’s oldest pastime, is not immune to the technological changes and relying on calculations to be successful. In addition to creating a more diverse team, the Braves GM embraces relying on statistics to help them make vital decisions. For instance, stats are used for who hits better against which type of pitcher, or whether a person’s batting average is sustainable due to BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play).
Business owners have to keep up with technology to remain relevant. When you examine your processes from a Lean perspective, it is easier to determine where technology may be able to help you. In hb&k’s Lean process improvements, we recognized the need for new technology, data and analytics and it helps continually improve every year.
The Braves have done a great job this year with creating a team-first mentality. Recently, they brought in a new right-handed outfielder to strengthen the team’s offense when playing against left-handed pitchers. Bringing in someone new means someone else is going to have to sit out. In this case, the man who would have to sit out simply said it didn’t bother him – he only wanted to be part of taking the team to playoffs.
Creating buy-in from your team is important to achieve change management in any process improvement. A team must be committed to quality over self if they want to be successful as a group. Six Sigma focuses on ways to create quality and enhance service to clients.
Are You Ready for Change?
Just like the Braves, your business needs to be proactive in accepting changes. Change takes time, so if you notice problems, or even if you just want to do better at something specific, today is the day to start tackling it.
At hb&k we’ve spent the last decade working on changes. We’re offering more and more consultative services all designed to help you and your business be successful when going through change. If you want to develop a Strategic Plan, improve your processes or work towards building up your team, please let us know. Contact us today to see what we can offer you.