March 17, 2014

What Do Baseball and Running a Glass Business Have in Common?

By Paul Bieber

There are many answers to this question. Let’s look at some of the top answers!

First, each is dependent on building a team. That team has to have starting players and some bench players who step up when needed.  In your glass shop do you have players who can play first and third base?  Can Tom who installs windshields also fix a window or measure a break? 

Next, consider a switch hitter.  He can hit both lefty and righty, depending on who is pitching.  On your glass team you need workers who can work in the shop and on the road when needed.  Train your inside guys, and don’t let them come to work without a company uniform shirt, as they can go out on a call at anytime.  The image that you present through your employees will last for a long time in your customer’s memory.

Can your team steal a base when needed?  Speed is the key.  Do you have people who can turn on a dime and finish a job quickly when another emergency job comes in?

How about the front office?  On a baseball team you need a publicity director to talk to the reporters.  So do you in the glass shop.  Maybe not full-time, and maybe just a part of someone’s job.  But decide who is your spokesperson in a company.  Probably the owner or a partner.  Have the spokesperson reach out to radio and TV stations to be considered an expert when a reporter needs facts on construction or energy savings or interior design!

Baseball is a game, believe it or not.  And games are fun.  Your company should be too.  Create an atmosphere where employees and customers enjoy coming to your shop.  Yelling and screaming only works with umpires, not employees and customers.  Happy employees will make you more money.  This is a known fact. 

Uh-oh, the pitcher has just thrown two walks.  It’s okaythe pitching coach or the manager can call time out and talk to the pitcher, calming him down.  You can do the same when you see a problem.  Walk out to the person,  figure out why there is a problem together, and then lay out a quick plan to fix it.  No yelling.  People have problems all the time and your role as manager is to solve them for the best efforts of the team.

Your number-eight batter just hit a grand-slam.  Jump up and congratulate him when he comes back to the dugout.  Do the same at work.  An estimator lands a good job; an installer finishes early and starts early on the next job; the person who answers your phone gets a nice compliment from a customer; these things can and do happen.  Be sure you jump up and give the pat on back.

Baseball has a scorecard so you know who the players are.  The glass industry has a scorecard too.  You guessed it, this is a blatantly commercial plug for USGlass magazine, our industry’s scorecard.

And like baseball there are winners and losers in all parts of life and even in our industry.  There are baseball teams that spend 215 million dollars on payroll, and teams that spend 80 million on payroll and the small payroll teams do just as well as the big payroll teams.  In the glass industry, whether you have two installers, or twenty, you can be a success by working smart, occasionally working very hard and taking care of business everyday.

Play Ball!