March 31, 2015

What Does Your Glass Business Have in Common with Little League Baseball?

By Paul Bieber

A lot.

Let’s think of you as the manager of the team, and your employees as the players. Here are some of the Little League player code of conduct rules. Let’s see how they fit.

1.  “The safety of the participants in the game is more important than the final score.”  ‘Nuff said.

2.  “The manager’s contribution is to be valued highly as to the development of the player talent, even though there may not always be agreement with the methods.”  Sure, you can let your employees do some different things, but they should remember that you are in charge. You do have be the teacher, the umpire, the role model, the expert and the kind fatherly-figure.

3.  “Umpires do not make the baseball rules, and it is understood that they only apply them.”  In our cases, the umpires are many. OSHA, your bank, your tax accountant, the deadbeat customer’s lawyer and so on. I learned very quickly to make a friend of the umpire, and the odd calls usually went my way.

4.  “Players learn by example from managers, and any and all behaviors reflect directly to the players.”  If you don’t work hard, your employees won’t. If they see you pocketing cash, they’ll think they can, too. If you are truthful to your customers and vendors, you have set a wonderful example that will be followed.

5.  “There is to be no negative cheering or verbal abuse directed toward the opposing team, umpire or coaching staff.”  When you give an estimate, don’t bad-mouth your competition. It will always get back to you, and it will bite you in the tail with a legitimate customer.

6.  “The biggest cause of players who quit the game of baseball is abuse.”  For us this means praise in public; teach and correct your weaker folks in private. You may salvage them, and they will appreciate your professional demeanor. It costs, on average, about a half-year’s salary to recruit and train a new employee. In this time of qualified labor shortages, do what you can to improve your current work force, not force the turnover.

7.  “Managers, coaches, teammates, umpires and opponents will be treated with respect at all times.”  The golden rule. You reap what you sow. Turnabout is fair play. You get it, now do it.

8.  “Practice hard and play smart.”  Make sure your team knows what it is doing when they go to the job site. It is better than baseball for us, because we get to go to the sites with the team. Check the jobs constantly to see that sealants are being used correctly, that the job is being done on schedule, and that proper safety procedures are being followed.

Baseball season opens this coming weekend.  It doesn’t get better than this!