It was a great series and sports sometimes imitates life so let me share a few “lessons learned”.
- A manager is important but not nearly as important as the players on the field. The players ultimately decide the outcome of the game. Same is true in business.
- If I were to line up all of the players from both teams, ask you to look at the players and identify the best athlete, who would you pick? Gordon, Cain, Strickland – those guys look like athletes. They are big, chiseled, strong and intimidating. After watching every game of the series I’d suggest that Giant’s third baseman, Pablo Sandovol, was the best athlete on the field. To look at the guy you wouldn’t think so. He’s short, overweight and just doesn’t fit in but that guy could field any ball that was near him. He could throw accurately off-balance and he hit at an amazing rate. Don’t let looks deceive you. Performance matters more than appearance.
- Special things happen and if you don’t stop to notice you may regret it. I got really tired of Joe Buck gushing over Giant’s pitcher Madison Bumgarner but that’s because I was rooting for the Royals. That guy was amazing. He was essentially un-hitable. Think about it for a minute. It’s been said that the most difficult thing for a pitcher to do is to face a line-up for the third time and that’s because the players have seen his pitches two other times. Bumgarner went through the Royals line up in three different games over the course of a week and they still couldn’t hit him. It truly was an amazing performance and I’m glad I witnessed it even though my team lost. We see miracles every day at GVMH, be sure you stop to appreciate them it will remind you why you do what you do.
- When the game’s on the line give it your all. Bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and down by one run. That’s what Alex Gordon was facing. He hit a ball to the outfield, the fielder made a bad read so the ball dropped and then the fielder accidentally kicked the ball which delayed his throw. Gordon made it to third just as the cut off throw got to the short stop so he stayed on third because the third base coach gave him the sign to stop. Could he have beat the throw home? Could he have knocked the ball out of the catchers glove in a collision? Who knows but now we’ll never know and I’m going to guess that in retrospect he would like to have taken a chance. Sometimes the fear of failure prevents you from reaching your goal.
- No matter what anyone says you can achieve your dream. In June, when the Royals were 8 games out of first do you think anyone thought they were serious World Series contenders? No way. They persevered and they kept scratching and clawing and they made it after a 29 year wait. They believed in themselves and they didn’t listen to the naysayers. Life’s a grind sometimes and so is work but if you focus on your goal you can achieve it regardless of what others say. Don’t defeat yourself and don’t let others defeat you before you even try.
- I bet if you asked a Royals fan in 1985 when the Royals would be back in the World Series most would have told you within 5 years, instead it was 29. The Royals had one of the longest runs in professional sports without a postseason appearance. Anyone can be great once but being great consistently takes a lot of work and it’s hard. The same is true in business which is why we say “Every Patient, Every Time”. To be great consistently we have to provide great care and service at every encounter.
- Everyone has to play by the same rules but those rules shouldn’t mask who you are. The Royals play an unorthodox brand of ball compared to their opponents but everything they do is within the rules, they just let their personality show and it makes them a team people want to cheer for. Salvador Perez, the Royals catcher, bathes in cologne (and sometimes Victoria’s Secret perfume) prior to each game to distract opposing batters. When a Royals player hits a home run the entire dugout greets him on the field of play, not just a home run in the last inning of the game like most teams. The Royals steal bases and pinch run and bunt and do all kinds of things to play to the strength of their team to mask their weaknesses and reflect their personality. It’s the little things that really make a difference. The same is true of health care. All hospitals provide good care but it’s the personal touch that makes care extraordinary.
- Finally, even in defeat there is victory. I’m not a person to subscribes to the “we should feel good because me made it even though we didn’t win” mantra. I am a person that believes every experience makes us better and every experience is a learning opportunity. We have the chance to learn every day in health care because the only constant is change. Learn from your victories and learn from your defeats in doing so you’ll be better at your craft tomorrow.
The Royals postseason run was a blast. My best friend texted me last night after the game and said “now what am I going to do every night”. I kind of feel the same way and it was so much fun watching the Royals compete for a championship I hope they don’t make us wait another 29 years to do it again.