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Is Your Team Ready to Take the Field?

HNI Vice President and Relationship Manager

The Right TeamIt takes an entire team to win the game – are you ready to take the field?  As a baseball fan, I can’t help but make an analogy about my line of work to America’s favorite pastime.  So who’s on your team?

In baseball, the old adage is "strength up the middle" -- you put your best defensive players up the middle, and put your offensive firepower on the corners of the infield and the outfield and let them focus on driving in runs and getting the offensive numbers as high as they can go.



In baseball, the pitcher sets the tone of the game.  In the same way, the CEO (or President, Owner, or leader of the company) sets the stage for the culture of the company.  If they play the game well, they can throw some mean curveballs at the competition. 


The catcher is another hugely important role in the game of baseball.  They assist the pitcher by knowing the competition and making the right calls for pitcher to throw.  They protect the plate so competition can’t score a run. Just as the catcher is instrumental in baseball, all leaders need a strong CFO. 


Your centerfielder – your risk advisor - keeps the team aware of their surroundings and keeps an eye on what directions the batters are going to hit.  They look left, center, and right and make sure your teammates are in the right places, positioned for success and covering any risks. Just like a centerfield, your risk advisor has to be in tune with the internal and external business conditions.  


Your short stop, or HR, is essential to pick up on the ground action to prevent a runner [or the competition] from advancing.  The short shop knows the rules of the game inside and out.  Similarly, HR can help advise you on whatever personnel, talent acquisition, or management issues you’re facing and make sure you’re within the bounds of employment law.

2nd BASE — Safety Director

The safety director is your 2nd baseman.  They’re a key defensive player and ready to turn the double play against the competition.  The safety director is integral in preparing for unexpected hits and preparing to throw the ball home.


1st BASE — Operations

Operations is charged with creating products and driving production efficiency to new levels. Operations is always ready for the batter to hit into the infield, and they think on their feet to make changes needed to keep things moving as they should. 

3rd BASE  IT

Getting your technology right is key to scoring a lot of runs.  A forward-thinking, fast moving IT is a critical part of your team, and on third base they prevent the runner from rounding the corner to score.  In business, this means they keep your company’s technology up to date to prevent the competition from getting ahead.


Sales is your offensive firepower that drives your business. Let them focus on driving in runs and getting the offensive numbers as high as they can go while your offense handles the heavy lifting on the field.


Managing your brand and reputation in the marketplace is a key offensive play.  Even so, a great hit out to right field could result in a team score, so as your right fielder, your marketing team has to be prepared to change course and respond to whatever challenges come your way.


Every team need pinch hitters to be back up when the game isn’t going as it should.  Your banker, attorney, and accountants are solid player that you need on your team, but having a strong defense up the middle can help prevent you from having to go to the bench too often. 

Trying to play the game of baseball – or business – without a full team on the field is a rookie mistake.  Winning the game is a team effort, and with the right people on your side you can hit it out of the park!


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Photo by theseanster93 via Flickr

Topics: Transportation Leadership / Strategy Manufacturing HR / Employee Benefits