By Joe Petrowski
I have had a lifelong love with two things—baseball and business—and often use baseball terms in my business. The two activities are intertwined…
1) 5 tool Player. In baseball there is the search for the player who can hit for average, hit for power, run, field and throw. In business you look for individuals who have the five tools of business: organize, analyze, sell, communicate and relate. If you do not have 25 players in baseball with all the tools you look for a team that collectively has those skills. The same is true in business, and like baseball certain positions have certain skill requirements (shortstop who can field, CFO who is organized, outfielder who can hit, marketer who can sell, communicate and relate).
2) Play for the big inning; avoid giving up the big inning. Business, like baseball, is a marathon not a sprint. There are 1,500 innings in a baseball season—the key is to never cut short your big inning and avoid the very bad inning or streak. Business is the same way—make hay when the sun is shining, shoot them when they’re flying, avoid the very bad quarter and cut your losses. Water your flowers, pull your weeds. Your first loss is your best loss.
3) Play out of position. Some employees who do not perform to excellence in one role may be superior performers in another role.
4) A Manager’ job is to put the best team on the field, make in-game decisions that accentuate the players’ strengths and minimize their weakness and essentially make sure there is tranquility over a long season of volatile outcomes. Same in business
5) A score starts with getting to first base. You need a customer first
6) You must play every hop well, especially the last one. In business, the customer interface is the most important touch point.
7) Never make the first out at third base (early mistakes can be overcome in business but the late ones are killers).
8) Chemistry on a team is critical in baseball and business. If you are going to be a jerk you better hit 350 or have an 2.0 ERA as a pitcher. If you are a jerk in business you better be one helluva of an income producer or performer.
9) You do not have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing right it will fly.
10) You can observe a lot by watching (OK, Yogi Berra, but true in both endeavors).
11) Baseball is 90% mental the other half physical (channeling my inner Yogi again). I once said business is 90% planning the other half is execution!)
Gulf Chairman and die-hard Red Sox Fan since Sept 4, 1961 (a 7-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians attended by 12,908, including my father and I).
Joe Petrowski has had a long career in international commodity trading, energy and retail management and public policy development. In 2005, he was named President and CEO of Gulf Oil LP and elected to the Gulf Oil LP Board of Directors. In October of 2008 he was named CEO of the now combined Gulf Oil and Cumberland Farms whose annual revenues exceed $11 billion and that now operates in 27 states. In September 2013, Petrowski stepped down as CEO of The Cumberland Gulf Group. He is now managing director of Mercantor Partners, a private equity firm investing in convenience and energy distribution and Chairman of the Gulf board.