Diamonds, Pitches, Team Sports, and Individual Sports
As with many success stories, the American pastime of baseball has many fathers (and mothers), with a heritage that extends well beyond the original thirteen colonies to Britain. Often called a "game of inches," baseball is a team sport, but lacking the constant motion of players on a soccer field (football pitch beyond the USA). Consider the design of the playing field, with "foul" lines emanating from "home plate," to the left, past third base, all the way to the outfield fence, and to the right, past first base, to the right field fence. In the foreground lie the four 90-degree corners of a "diamond," from home plate to first base to second base, on to third base, and back to home plate. Nine defensive players are distributed around this diamond and across the outfield. Only one of their jobs (the catcher's, during an intentional walk) is defined by outlines that can restrict his or her role in the way that a goalkeeper in soccer can use his or her hands only within the confines of the penalty area. As a result, the remaining eight defensive players in baseball are highly interdependent in their field positioning, much the same as players on both teams in a soccer match.
What if, in contrast, baseball players were each constrained in their positions by solid boundaries, painted around the diamond and outfield? Instead of players routinely adjusting their roles and positions for the motions of their teammates, with the catcher running to assist the first baseman, or the third baseman covering home plate, each player remained in their pre-defined zones. Might this situation begin to approximate the operation of an organization with inflexible job descriptions, wherein employees are left to believe their respective roles are independent? Such rigidity is a classic attribute of what Dr. Deming termed "the prevailing style of management" with each co-worker seeking to conform to a pre-defined set of requirements for their role, presumably independent of the performance of others within the organization. In the absence of interdependence, the concept of a team sport might instead be known as an individual sport, with a common aim superseded by individual aims. Leave it to baseball and soccer to remind us every day of the potential for teamwork at work.
If you are interested in exploring the inspiring prospects of teamwork, built upon a foundation of how we think, learn, and work together, we invite you to join with peers at the In2:InThinking Network's 2014 Forum in Los Angeles, California, from June 18th through 22nd, on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN). This year, our ever timely focus will be;
"Succeed with Inquiry: Insights, Knowledge, Action"
For more information, visit our 2014 Forum website
or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Our Forum registration fee is $400 for our Weekend Conference, with a $50 discount for registrations received by midnight, Pacific Time, on May 7th.
If you are not able to attend our Weekend Conference, you are most welcome to attend any of our 14 Pre-Conference sessions, all free, with the exception of a $40 material fee for one (N - What We're Learning About the Brain). Webcasting is also an option; find details at this link. A $25 discount on our webcasting offer is in place until May 7th.
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Register by Saturday, June 21st to attend our Weekend Conference
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In2:InThinking Network 2014 Forum Team