Baseball, Barbies, and Bouncing Back

I grew up with three older brothers and they all played sports. The TV, with only 3 channels, was ALWAYS tuned to sports. I was dragged to more games than anyone can count, and so I played with my Barbies more often on bleachers than in my own home. I vowed that when I got older, I would NEVER EVER attend another sporting event.

Then, my second son Jeffrey entered our lives. He loved baseball, I loved him, so we set out to visit all 30 major league baseball stadiums. Mission accomplished! To say that we were ecstatic about the Washington Nationals winning the World Series is an understatement.

Yet the Nationals were considered underdogs at the beginning of the season, and they certainly didn’t get off to a good start (remember 19-31!). While wearing my Nats hat and T-shirt this past week, I pondered what corporate lessons we can learn from the Nats winning the World Series. Here are some of my take-aways:  

People Need a Cause to Unite Around

I went to one of the playoff games and the mood was electric. The minute we got off the Metro, small bands were playing and fans were smiling. Spectators were “high-fiving” and children were dancing in the closed-off streets. While nearby employees wouldn’t appreciate a brass band every day, an occasional street party is a good idea.  

Employees Need Seasons

The Nat’s team motto this season was #StayintheFight. #FightFinished was used to Tweet about the World Series win. What’s great about sports teams is that they have seasons. There is a beginning and an end. Employees need end points too. Often when I am in organizations, one project has started even before others have ended. Achievements should be recognized, appreciated, and celebrated.  

And when long-term projects are the norm, it is helpful to have quarterly milestones so there can be a sense of accomplishment and pride. Other ideas for creating community and celebrating as a workplace include coming together to share a birthday cake, to recognize a promotion, or to celebrate a marriage, adoption, or birth.

A Theme Song Can be a Way of Uniting a Team and Community 

We know that Gerardo Parra coming to bat with the Baby Shark music playing in the background mattered. It brought energy and humanness to the game. The fans loved that they could imitate the baby shark clap and cheer. It brought fans together.

In an office environment, if you have a teammate who likes to play, encourage the playfulness. If you think dancing and cheering is only for professional sports players, think again!

Breast Cancer Patient Dances Her Way to the Operating Room
Virgin America Flight Attendant Safety Dances

The Dugout Matters

After a score, the Nationals players returned to the dugout for a rather raucous ”walk” down the aisle. All the Nats joined in the fun! The way the members of a team interact with one another in the dugout, on the bus and plane, and at meals, matters. This is true in your workplace too. Teams can and should celebrate an individual’s success as it can only bring more success to the team. We all like to be around people who bring us “up” and create levity in all situations.   

Let me know how you will bring Nattitude to your workplace.

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  • Reply

    Karen: loved the article. Washington could really use a rallying cry just about now. The only addition I made in terms of business lessons from the Nats is “don’t give up the fight”. Despite being in the hole a ton of different times during the season and in the playoffs, they continued to believe. It can often feel that way in business with internal challenges and naysayers not to mention competitors breathing down your neck.

    • Karen Snyder


      Thanks for posting. The Nats really didn’t give up the fight. I guess I should continue to believe in our project, given that philosophy!


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