Watch this clip from the American League Championship Series a couple of days ago, whether you are a baseball fan or not, and then read on.
If you know anything about the rules of baseball (or even if you just listen to the broadcasters) you know that the umpire made an error – a very public and quite obvious one.
Note – Since I posted this, the video has been taken down from YouTube (which you likely have figured out). I chose to leave it here, because beyond the copyright issues, it furthers my point about the culture of MLB.
Rather than focusing specifically on the mistake made, let’s look at this situation from a strategic leadership perspective and consider the organizational response to the error.
In case I missed it, there wasn’t a response.
The umpire was empowered to make the decision, and even when a correctable error occurred he had no support, nor were steps taken to correct the error. (Here are his comments after the game.)
What other options could there have been?
- The umpire could have asked for help
- Other umpires could have offered help
- There could be a general agreement in these situations to have a conference
- Replay could be used
Bear in mind that in other sports (football and basketball come to mind) any or all of these other options occur regularly.
But not in baseball.
Purists might say that is the way it has always been.
But you have heard that excuse in your business too.
Organizational culture is about “the way it has always been” and “the way we do things.”
As leaders we need continue to survey the culture of the organization and look for opportunities to improve it, rather than leaving it to the status quo.
It may not be as easily seen as if it were broadcast on national television. But it doesn’t change the importance of this leadership skill.
Make it one of your strategic leadership activities today to observe your organizational culture with new eyes and see where the status quo might not be best serving your objectives.