Throughout my entire life I have heard the phrase “Firing on All Cylinders” yet for some reason, so far in my professional career it doesn’t seem appropriate.
I am sorry, let me start over. My name is Nick Morgan, and I spent the first 23 years of my life dedicated to the sports world. From little league through college ball, I dedicated my life to perfecting my craft in pursuit of greatness. Although my playing career ended before I made it to the big leagues, I achieved 2 conference championship rings, 1 regional championship ring, and a first-place seed to the Division 2 College World Series. “Here goes Nick again, reliving his glory days!”
Okay, okay, let’s get back on topic. I am now 26, and I hope you follow along with me as I tell my story about where CEO’s, Business Owners and the like, seem to fall short compared to Coaches who seemingly at will, have their teams “Firing on ALL Cylinders!”
I remember it like it was yesterday. Another long, hot, practice in North Mississippi. It was the day before our semifinals game in our Regional Tournament. The winner of that game goes to the Regional Championship game, putting them 1 win away from the College World Series.
There I was, standing on third, receiving pickoffs from the pitchers. For those who are unfamiliar with the game of baseball, pickoffs to third from the pitcher is something you almost never see! I remember thinking “Man, what are we doing working on this? Why are we investing our time into this? We have the biggest game of our lives coming up tomorrow. In my two years at Delta State, we had never run this play in a game. NOT EVEN ONCE!”
In case you were wondering, no matter what my opinion was (or how great ) this was no different than every other practice for the past 2 seasons. Our coach, Mike Kinnison, had us work that play EVERY SINGLE DAY like clockwork. In my second season, with 2 outs, in the bottom of the 8th inning of that semifinal, I finally found out why!
Time stood still. Seconds felt like minutes. Strangely enough, with a sold-out crowd all pulling for us, the home team, you could hear a pin drop. Not because we had one out to go in the second to last inning, making us only four outs away from advancing to the championship game.
They were silent because the All-American, National Player of The Year, our first baseman, was now laying face first on the ground screaming in agony after attempting to chase down a foul ball. Our coaches ran out to check on him. Everyone in that stadium, including the other team, was solely focused on whether he would come out of the game. The infielders gathered behind the pitcher’s mound, taking a knee as we were taught to do when injuries occur. “Just our luck!!” “No way this is happening.” “What are the odds this would happen at the biggest moment in our season.” “We haven’t planned for this” … or have we???
Before we knew it, our attention was snapped away from our pity party. We were brought back to reality by the eruption of the crowd. Our first baseman was finally starting to get up! He gave a thumbs-up to the crowd and started limping back to first base. THE CROWD WENT WILD! With the roar of the crowd, the coaches leaving the field, and the umpires getting everyone back in position, I knew it was now or never.
In the midst of all the chaos, I made eye contact with the pitcher and grabbed the bill of my ballcap. That meant it was on! Back in my position, as I took my stance, I heard the third-base coach talking to his runner. He said: “Be ready for a passed ball.” “Make sure you get a good secondary.” “We need you to score.” Truth be told, it took everything in my power not to crack a grin at the sound of those words. I knew we had him.
Our pitcher toed the rubber, got the sign from the catcher, and came set. Just as he’d done his entire life, he looked towards home, breathed deeply, and got ready to throw a pitch. Except this time, when he raised his leg to throw, he had no intention of throwing it to the plate. At the peak of his leg lift, the runner began to walk towards home. Little did the runner know, I was already breaking towards third. “HE’SSSSSSSSSS OUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!”
By the time the runner realized what was going on, it was already too late. He did everything he could do to dive back to that bag. But our team practiced this play every day for the past two years. We were ready for this moment!
As I wrote this blog, I reached out to my former coaches and coaches currently involved in my community. Every coach I interviewed wound up with the same answer. As a coach your greatest fear is putting your team out onto the field in a situation that they are not prepared for. “Come on coach! Baseball is simple isn’t it? You hit, pitch, field, and throw?” For those of you reading this, take my advice, don’t ever say that to a coach (even if it’s being sarcastic for the sake of an interview haha!)
As a fan those are the things you show up to the ballpark every day and see. That is totally understandable for someone on the outside looking in to assume. But for someone responsible for their team, a leader, a coach, a CEO, it’s the day-to-day preparations in ALL facets of the game that they take pride in. As a fan, you don’t see the daily footwork drills on taking leads, the transfer drills for a catcher on throwdowns, the double cuts to home from the right center gap, and all the little things we put time in to everyday to make sure that we are at our best and READY FOR EVERY SITUATION! Every coach had the same thing in mind “we will be prepared and have a process in place for every situation that may come up during our season.”
Now I ask you, CEO’s and business owners, are you taking that coach’s mindset to your company? Are you setting up your employees, your team, and your company for success? Are you investing time in all aspects of your operation? I want everyone reading this to be honest with yourself. Are you investing all of your time and money in your product development(hitting), advertising (pitching), employee training(fielding), and leaving your company unprepared for a moment that not if, but when, will come for you?
It is easy to get caught up and focused on the things that are on the forefront or things that the fans want to see. I am asking you to prepare for the things that ONE DAY you are going to need. If that is the case, then it’s time to start investing in IT. A managed service provider to be exact: About GI – Nick Morgan’s Blog Site! All I’m asking is that you don’t send your players, your team, and your company, out on the field unprepared. Prepare for EVERY scenario your team may face in the office and do everything in your power to make sure your company is Firing On All Cylinders.