Ah spring, a time when fly balls and pickoff throws fill the air! In Florida and Arizona, Major League Baseball clubs are going through the motions of spring training. Players are working on their batting eyes, limbering up their pitching arms, and repeating drills until their hands bleed, all with an eye to being ready for Opening Day.
But why? Does anybody really believe these athletes need a refresher course year after year? After all, they work out year-round with personal trainers. They have video and computer swing analysis and advanced pitching metrics like WHIP, whatever that is. Are you going to tell me that, other than young kids trying to make the big club and old timers trying to hang on, that these guys need to spend six weeks in Scottsdale?
So what's the reason for spring training? In part, I think it's to remind everyone that baseball is hard. Hitting a 95 mph fastball is the hardest task in sports, and throwing one is the runner-up. Spring training is, in part, about humility. A reminder that greatness is rare and that if we can do things that others can't, that's cause for gratitude, not boastfulness.
In any organization, people are subject to complacency and resting on laurels. It's healthy, once in a while, to get a reminder that succeeding once is no guarantee that you'll succeed again. Staying on top means recognizing that the work of getting better never ends.
What do you do to encourage humility in your people?