Not to sound boastful, but while the Polar Vortex cripples much of the U.S., here in Arizona we’re looking at unseasonably warm temperatures reaching 90 degrees. This only matters as the annual rite of late February approaches—a time when young men who have labored their entire lives to perfect the skills of pitching, hitting, fielding and running head for the desert in hopes of playing in the Major Leagues.
Spring Training 2014: around these parts, we call it the Cactus League.
In addition to new talent and veteran stars, it also is a time when managers—including a crop of new, first-time skippers—come to the desert to evaluate talent, devise plans, assess weakness and strengths and put into place a strategy that may end the year with more wins than losses. Come to think of it, such a scenario might have value for your organization as strengthens its digital commerce business. Do sports imitate success in businesses or is it the other way around?
Certainly a question worth pondering over an evening beverage.
As a baseball fan for more than 50 years, the qualities of successful managers seem perfectly aligned to building and managing a digital commerce team. I’ve seen the best and worst of team leaders and offer a few observations to consider when selecting that right person to take your digital commerce efforts to a profitable, championship level. For those who have seen the film “Moneyball,” (or read the book, for that matter) examine the relationship between team manager, Art Howe, his boss Billy Beane and Beane’s boss, Steve Schott. That’s a great example of how not to build a long-lasting team. On the other hand, consider these attributes for your digital commerce leader:
• Someone who is both a great evaluator of talent and one who brings out the best in his or her team members. This person can look beyond the resume, downplay weaknesses and find hidden strengths that come together with others to build a cohesive unit.
• A leader who is decisive and not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Some think of this as Silicon Valley DNA. A potential digital commerce manager who has no past business failures may have his or her first screw-up on your watch.
• Someone who is skilled at surrounding himself or herself with smart advisors. A leader who recognizes his or her weakness and surrounds himself or herself with smart people is likely to be grounded and respected by the team. For example, a digital commerce manager who is strong on IT but not marketing and looks to others for marketing wisdom sets the right tone for his group.
So, there’s a short list to keep on hand as your build your digital commerce team. As the baseball season unfolds, and as the 2014 digital commerce season evolves, there will be many lessons each business can learn from the other. As a marketing executive, don’t shoot for second place; find the manager who is right for your organization and shoot for nothing less than the pennant.
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