As a baseball fan, the Atlanta Braves in particular, I spent sometime this weekend listening to the ball games as I was driving around town. In Sunday’s game Tom Glavine, starting pitcher for the Braves, hurt a hamstring and had to come out of the game after just 19 pitches. Unfortunately the Braves lost to the Nationals. He is listed “day-to-day”, which means he may or may not be ready to pitch again next time his turn is up. Not a happy situation for the team or for fans.
The amazing thing about this is there will be a competent pitcher there to take his place. Perhaps not the star he is, but there will be someone there to take his place. Immediately. This got me to thinking, how many businesses would be able to do that? Most businesses would go for a period of time, with the position open, while they looked for a replacement.
Business does not do nearly the job with either replacement planning or succession planning that professional baseball does. Professional baseball has a system of minor leagues that allows them to be continually developing talent. Thus, when a worker on the major league team goes down they have a replacement in the wings ready to fill in immediately. The replacement may not be as good, may need sometime to get up to speed, but the team does not miss a beat. They don’t delay output while they wait for a replacement to show up.
Yes I realize many companies don’t have the money that most major league teams have, but there is still a lesson there. Does your company have a replacement ready to go for your “first stringers?” Are people cross-trained to fill in or take over? Do you have a “minor league” system in place, aka a succession plan? Are you developing people?
Another lesson that we can take from professional baseball is the search for talent. Scouts are always looking for talent to place in the system. Do you have “scouts” watching for talent?
Think about baseball and learn the lesson. Baseball is all about their “human resources.” They have nothing else to offer. So maybe we can take some lessons about how we manage our human resources.
Just a thought from an HR professional who is a baseball fan.