How to Play Ball with a Broken Thumb: Business Lessons from a Nine Year Old

May 27, 2013

I am the father of one particularly active 9 year old son.   His activities include hockey, baseball, soccer and on occasion football.   This keeps me quite busy at times and struggling to meet his hectic schedule. 

This spring, Fletcher decided to venture out and try his hand at hardball.  He seems to be a natural at it and enjoys practicing for hours on end.   Had he not recently broken his thumb during a rousing game of football at school, I’m sure his season would have gone quite well. 

It would seem that catching a football with only the thumb is not well advised and most likely will result in a lengthy visit to the local E.R. department with one very swollen, immovable digit.  A couple of x-rays and one cast later, we left the hospital and hit the road home.  His pitching arm was held in a sling and looked like a broken wing.

I was expecting a sombre ride home given the news that the cast would most likely be on for the whole summer.   I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him, “Well, it’s just one summer, my career isn’t over.”   What a mature and optimistic way to look at things.  Instead of feeling bad for himself or sad that he couldn’t play ball, he was already planning to attend the next game to show everyone his cast and break the news to his coach.  He'd end up sitting on the bench for the next game cheering on his teammates.  He was already looking ahead to next season.

What if we could get ourselves to always do the same in business?   Things are not always going to work out.   In fact, you might find that your well laid business plans are sidelined on a number of occasions.  The trick is to learn from the mistakes, embrace the changes and accept the consequences. Like Fletcher, the trick is to adjust your attitude and plan for future success.  But how is that possible when your business has ‘broken its thumb’?   

Another Lesson from the Boy with the Cast

Today, I was surprised to find Fletcher heading out the door with a ball glove on his hand.  What?  I think to myself “Another trip to the E.R.?”    I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Fletcher had already adapted to his new situation.   He would receive a throw from his older brother in his glove hand, toss the ball up in the air from his glove, throw the glove quickly to the ground, catch the ball in mid-air and then throw it back.   He had already learned how to do this quickly and even though he was throwing with the ‘wrong’ hand, his aim was quite good.  It would seem that he had taken a negative and turned it into a positive.   He had adapted to his broken thumb.

Imagine if we had the gumption of a 9 year old in our business lives to adapt easily and quickly to something that’s broken or not working the way it used to.   Is your business capable of doing this? Adapting and coming out as good as or even better than it was yesterday?   Now, I could suggest that I set up a meeting with your organization and Fletcher, so he could provide you with some insight on how to make this happen.  But, given the fact he is in school 5 days a week, and all of the red tape associated with child labour, it is prudent that I do not.  That does not mean I can’t offer an alternate solution.

Here at BizXcel, we have professionals on staff with a number of tools at hand to assist your business to become more adaptable and better able to handle crisis situations.  It could be a Strategic Planning session with Gary to better understand which direction you want your business to head.  I can provide a Personality Dimensions session to better allow your employees to recognize their strengths and weakness and how to work together as a cohesive team in order to collectively adapt to difficult times.   Robert can provide assistance with Project Management and Business Analysis to ensure that any decisions you make are planned properly and your business stays on track.   I could go on and on regarding the many strengths of all of our associates however, why not take that first step for your organization and book an appointment to learn more.

Don’t wait! 

Seize the opportunity to find out what BizXcel can do for your organization to make it better today!