I watched Bull Durham (again) last night. A great movie if you haven’t seen it.
Though I must admit, I’m not much of a baseball fan. I find it to be about as exciting to watch as CSPAN.
But when it comes to sports movies, baseball takes the cake. Think Moneyball, The Bad News Bears, Major League (shut up Dorn), The Natural, A League of Their Own, Field of Dreams, and, of course, Bull Durham, just to name a few.
Anyway, as I said, I was watching Bull Durham last night.
It’s a romantic comedy about the Durham Bulls, a minor-league baseball team in Durham, North Carolina, and their poetry-loving groupie, Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon. Every season Annie selects one player on the team with whom she’s going to spend the season as his lover and teacher (of baseball). This year she selects Ebby LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins, a dopey pitching prodigy with an ego and ball control issues.
Although Sarandon is phenomenal in this film, it’s “Crash” Davis that inspired this edition of Mark’s Movie Minute. Crash, played by Kevin Costner, is a life-long minor-leaguer who is sent down from triple-A to the single-A Bulls for the sole purpose of mentoring the hotshot rookie and getting him into the majors.
Like Sarandon, Costner knocks it out of the park (pun intended), tutoring the young, dim-witted phenom in the ways of baseball and life. But at the end of the film, he also inadvertently imparts some business wisdom.
Crash is at a pool hall wallowing in a little self-pity when LaLoosh walks in to tell his mentor the big news — LaLoosh has been called up to the majors! Crash, frustrated and drunk, illustrates the fine line between success and failure, declaring, “You know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at-bats is 50 points, OK?”
After pointing out that there are about 25 weeks in a season, he continues, “That means if you get just one extra flare a week, just one — a gork, a ground ball, a ground ball with eyes… you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week, and you’re in Yankee Stadium.”
The Business Lesson
Having goals is critical to running a successful business. But oftentimes, the goal is all we see. And looking at nothing but the end goal will almost always overwhelm and lead to failure.
It’s rarely large, sweeping actions that drive a business to success. The key to achieving your goals is to focus on the little things.
Do you want to grow from a $600,000 company to $1 million? Consider the impact of getting just one more sales lead per week. Do you want to increase your net profitability from four percent to ten percent? What would be the impact if you kept the thermostat set to 77 degrees instead of 73. Or moving from weekly sales meetings to monthly? That would give your sales team three to six more hours per month to be selling.
It’s the small, consistent wins and the minor adjustments to your daily routine that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.
So, stop swinging for the fences. A broken-bat dribbler down the line counts the same toward your batting average as a home run. Just make contact, and good things will happen.
Who knows, you might get to Yankee Stadium sooner than expected.
Mark Harari is the Vice President of Remodelers Advantage, president of R/A Marketing Inc., co-host of the PowerTips Unscripted podcast, and best-selling author of Lobster on a Cheese Plate: How to Stand Out, Attract the Best Clients, and Win Every Sale That Comes Your Way. For more information, please visit www.bethelobster.com.
Baseball stock photo by ygor/Shutterstock