shutterstock_277215497There are times in life when you can see the finish line.

There are times when you can smell the victory.

There are times when you can reach out and touch the goal.

Rarely Do We Make It Alone

In almost every endeavor there is some element of team work. Even on a solo rowing or sailing or hiking expedition there are support crews and support mechanisms in place. This is also true in business. Someone opened a door, someone made a connection, someone offered up that first break.

There are Exceptions. People are often celebrated for achieving solo accomplishments. I’m not looking to dim their successes. However, in most cases, especially today, there are support teams and mechanisms in place.

Why 60 Feet from Victory?

In Little League the bases are 60 feet apart. This post was inspired by something I witnessed during the the Little League World Series. Last week the annual Little League World Series (LLWS) took place in Williamsport, PA.

I saw a lot of passion … as well as preparation … from these kids standing on 3rd base. Which meant they were just 60 feet from home plate and possibly … a victory.

There are a lot of things we can learn from Little League about business.

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
~ Tommy Lasorda, (former) Manager of the L.A. Dodgers baseball team

If you have never seen the LLWS it is a group of kids that are just 13 years old from all over the world that come together for two weeks of baseball. It’s a collection of sportsmanship, camaraderie and team work to become the Little League World Series champion.

I won’t tell you who won, but you can easily find out here. I can tell you there were tears, smiles and a lot of times where a player was just 60 feet from victory.

Just 60 Feet from Victory

The kids could see it, sense it and maybe even smell it.

  • A player made it to 3rd base … perhaps on their own, but in reality there was a combination of team work to get them there.
  • To make that last 60 feet … there is absolutely a need for teamwork.
  • In order to touch home plate they needed each other.

Someone on their team needed to stand in the batters box and wait for a pitch to be delivered. If you know baseball you know there are countless possibilities that could happen. I won’t go into those here. However, suffice it to say … that player (a co-worker in a business sense) in the batters box was critical to crossing home plate and achieving victory.

Several times during games there was a player just 60 feet from victory.

There are a lot of things we can learn from Little League about business.

Big Goals Take Time (and Teamwork)

Perhaps one of the most important aspects is that it takes teamwork to achieve a victory. In this same line of thinking it takes a series of victories to achieve the big prize. In baseball and in business there are a lot of small victories that need to be achieved to accomplish the big goal.

February to August
In Little League a group of kids typically start playing in February and after a lot of games (which means even more practices to build specific skills) they may have the chance to reach the pinnacle of their Little League careers. Which is a shot at the Little League World Series. Which typically only happens once in a lifetime.

There are a lot of parallels to business here. Some might be on a much more rapidly accelerated timeline than in the business world, but the model and concepts are the same.

  • Define a goal
  • Communicate the goal
  • Work together to seek that goal

Teamwork Matters

  • It’s rarely all you.
  • It comes down to working together.
  • No single player makes it happen all by themselves.

Yes. There are home runs. And home runs CAN win games. But, there are still plays to be made and 18 outs to be made (6 innings and 3 outs per inning in Little League). The team needs to accomplish these. No single player can make all of this happen. Coordination and teamwork are required. As well as a lot of practice and preparation.

Another great Tommy Lasorda quote is also quite true in every other endeavor — whether it’s a trip to home plate or to the moon.

Baseball is like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts.

Leadership, Communication and Teamwork

Each of these run hand-in-hand to achieve the overall big victory. Whether it’s 60 feet or 500,000 miles – which is the distance to Moon… and back. There needs to be a leader, a message and a lot of passion to get the message across.

Consider JFK’s Moonshot Speech“We choose to go to the Moon” at Rice University in September 1962. He stated the goal. He challenged people. He asked them to step up. He implored them to work together.

Eyes on the Prize

Keep the pressure on. Even when you can see the prize. Especially when you can see the prize. When victory seems so close … this is when focus, attention to detail, and a commitment to completion come into play.

Those that do will stand out in their careers and will be called upon when getting to the finish line is important. Being able to touch home plate is a critical skill and a success factor that companies and potential business partners look for when making hiring and partnering decisions.

What’s your 60 foot goal?  What’s your moonshot goal?

As things get tough … just remember … sometimes victory is just 60 feet away.

Make sure you are ready to cover that distance. Be willing to step up and be a leader when necessary. Be ready to follow when necessary. Set and seek big goals … find a team or build a team to achieve them. And, remember, sometimes we need to channel our inner John F. Kennedy and Tommy Lasorda and use our determination to seek big goals … not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

What’s your 60 foot goal?  What’s your moonshot goal?