With the start of baseball season last night (go Red Sox), I feel it’s necessary to share a story many of you have heard me use before, to make the “Baseball Case for Creating Alignment.” Just about everyone understands baseball. It’s a pretty good story so I hope you’ll indulge me.

About three years ago, my mother in-law (Cardinals Fan) and I went to a Memphis Redbirds game (Triple A). They were playing the Albuquerque Isotopes. The Redbirds hit five magnificent home runs. One, by Rick Ankiel, went over the scoreboard and we could see it bound down the street. Truly wonderful.

But as we left the ballpark, we were muttering to ourselves about how disappointed we were with the outcome of the game. In spite of the five home runs, the Redbirds lost 12-5.

Five magnificent acts of excellence that added up to just about nothing. Granted, this was Triple A baseball and the players were probably trying hard to get noticed by the parent club rather than playing for victory. But if they were playing together instead of for themselves, couldn’t they have gotten a few runners in place so that the home runs were not just magnificent but productive as well.

As a business analogy though, I think this story works. I see it all the time, individual acts of excellence not really adding up to much. Because there isn’t alignment, there isn’t a plan, there isn’t a spirit of collaboration.

Is this going on in your organization?
Are you hitting home runs at the expense of the team?
Is your team swinging for the fences without loading up the bases first?
What will you do about it?