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Yeah, I’m talking about baseball, kind of: When we’re in a rut, or when we don’t get the result we want, or when we fail, we often use sports analogies like “in a slump”, “swing and a miss”, and “struck out”. And so often, especially in the car business, we are very parochial about who we discuss these issues with—we look to our peers, our friends, our relationships for advice and answers. People inside our “sphere of influence”. People in our game on our field.
However, maybe nothing changes. Maybe the results continue to be bad, or they cycle back from good to bad, and they baffle us. And we turn to our sphere of influence, again and again, and maybe we succeed in the end. However, was our success as high or great as we could have had? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
What do I mean? In baseball, it’s easy to see that the “spheres” you normally think of are certainly baseballs, but even a baseball park itself can be a "sphere of influence". For example, Joe DiMaggio is a famous baseball player, still, holding several amazing records 70 years later. Would you believe, as a right-handed hitter in his home Yankee Stadium, his home run percentage always ran less than on the road? That’s because Yankee Stadium was uneven, having a deeper fence in left field than right. That was the “sphere” that such a champion as DiMaggio had every home game.
So, in the other ball parks on the road, DiMaggio hit more homers. Outside his normal “sphere of influence”, his abilities grew from that interaction with something other than what he was used to. And he was great on the road! And then also greater back at home, building on success and feeding from those other “spheres” back to Yankee Stadium; DiMaggio still has the record for most consecutive games with a hit (56), and his record for hits in 73 of 74 games also stands today.
The lesson from DiMaggio is that we all need to expand our spheres of influence to get the most success we can. And it’s funny, the effect of that: A friend of mine in the car business went to Brian Pasch’s Napa Executive Retreat, and he came away with great gems—and he felt that the greatest were from Tom Baldwin, who as CEO of Morton’s Steak House, had led that company into a growth period unprecedented in restaurant history! From meeting and listening to Mr. Baldwin, my friend says he got several great things to implement towards his own success. Not in restaurants, but in the car business.
And that’s what happens: Studies of humans show that we often hear “good” when our friends and peers give us “great”, and we react according to what we hear. And, yet, outside our normal sphere of influence, we can hear the same “great” as “great”! Our ears are open, and so we hit some homers in the ballparks on the road, and that leads us to more hits and homers back in our “home” sphere.
We need to learn from the Spheres of DiMaggio: Success comes from more than just our “home sphere”, and being "on the road" brings that success to greatness. Come on—don’t you want to hit, run, and throw better than ever in this business? Then take your Sphere of Influence on the road, and grow it, and bring the things you learn back home for even more success.
“Joltin’” Joe DiMaggio did, and he achieved greatness from his spheres (of all kinds) that lasts even now, 70 years later, and is still going strong!
Different spheres of influence: A hallmark of greatness.
And, for the greatest success, a hallmark you need!