Keeping Score: Arena-Factory Parallels?

October 5, 2020

There are some parallels between sports and work in this “season” of unprecedented human interruption.  In sports, many professional athletes are playing shortened or rescheduled seasons with restricted arena attendances.  Or even worse, consider the diminished satisfaction of winning the World Series on a far-from-home neutral ballpark.  At work in business, we are limited in our  hours ( even furloughed ) or are adjusting to working remotely.  In either sports or business, the new reality requires adjustments in management as well as human adjustments on the court or shop floor.

The macro parallels between sports and industry is that they both have a product to sell that requires skilled labor. So down on the court or shop floor what are the human parallels in effect?

1 – Making a Living: no matter your rank or financial stature everyone needs food and shelter, then maybe toys and entertainment. And everyone looks to improve their situation … rookies or superstars … entry-level or CEOs.

2 – Winning: on the field or in the factory, we crave winning.  That’s human nature, to be champions or heroes. In sports we keep score and record stats … rebounds or RBIs. At work … productivity or zero recordable‘s.

3 –  What Matters: no matter the season or global circumstances, we all seek to make our mark. At our core we have an innate need to belong to something bigger than ourselves. We need a sense of contribution or ownership – how our vigilance created award-winning safety cultures … or how defensive rebounds produced a championship. Finally, 50 years from now, did our work have meaning?  Were we a part of a championship team … moon shot … or Covid front-line hero?

Takeaways: our humanity gives us the will to survive and to make the best out of the most dire circumstances. Isn’t it evident that these events have revealed unchoreographed heroic actions from all walks of life?

Final Score?: While the world is on “pause” from our usual pace, freedom and activities … I’m reflecting that the interruption may reveal new and improved work-life balance patterns and behaviors.  The final score is always a reflection of the skill, heart and will of those on the shop floor or playing field.