If you ever played baseball you will get this (If you haven't you will also get it, don't worry):

Picture this:
-You are at bat, game tied, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, 2 outs and your batting average has been a solid .357 the whole season. You take a look at your third base coach and you see him giving you the divine signal: YOU ARE FREE TO SWING LIKE HELL TO THE FIRST BALL YOU LIKE.

DAMN! Doesn't that feel good? You are free to swing, you can take it out of the ball park and smack that ball into a windshield of a car parked 3 blocks from the stadium. You can be the hero, you can bring all your people home, you can untie the game, you can be the winner and ONLY YOU CAN STOP YOURSELF BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE IS GONNA. Your destiny at that moment, and the destiny of your team depends solely on your bare hands. And best of all...YOU HAVE CLEARANCE FROM YOUR COACH. They trust you so much, the order for you is: Hit it like the devil and make us proud.

Such chances are precious and there should be a painful and shameful punishment to those who pretend they can afford the luxury of not taking advantage of them. Even if you strike out, even if you send a sissy fly to left field or if you bat for a triple play scenario (If you do this, you can also go and kill yourself choking to death with a bunch of shaving cream), but at least you can go down with HONOR, knowing that you gave it every pound of passion and braveness that runs through your veins. And maybe, just maybe, if you focus yourself and prepare your skills for this moment, you can write history.

But for the third base coach, sending a free swing signal is not always easy. There are several factors restraining him from taking the risk of being successful or a complete and sorry failure: There are your other fellow coaches looking at you with the evil eye ("What is this idiot doing? I knew I should be third base coach"), the fans judging your actions with sharp edges and with no mercy, your personal records shouting at you: "Don't do it, play it safe!",there is also sacred team protocol, popular wisdom and why not: fear. All these factors are fighting in the coach's head versus the good and positive outcomes that may come from a successful free swing. A coach with enough balls to send this signal should be respected and admired. However, sometimes in the business world, this is far from reality and you will seldom see it.

Please don't take me the wrong way: Sacrifice bunts, hit and run, base stealing or even a high fly to the outfield are valid strategies too. That's why the free swing strategy is the queen of them all. In the business world, when stars align and everything is going in your favor, you are allowed -almost obliged- to free swing. If the market is strong, you have a great product, your salespeople are empowered and your operation is right on the money, it is a capital sin to miss the chance.

However, sometimes, at the sign of FREE SWING, lots of people just get paralyzed. Seems like they understand FREE SWING as FREE YOUR BUREAUCRACY SPIRIT AND CLOG EVERYTHING UP. Instead of swinging with force, they will start developing processes for making the swing, analysis of the swings made 18 years ago, meetings to program new meetings to make daily swing reports reviews, and at the end, no swing was made and we went down on 3 straight strikes, just watching. Evidently, the next 3 months meetings and processes are programed in order to understand WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?? Bureaucracy is the perfect excuse for lazy schmucks."Yeah, I didn't make the sales quota, but I have a massive report that explains why I am not such an asshole, just a moron striving to make payday and keep on screwing things up...Wanna see the power point?".

Avoid these morons. Make them feel uncomfortable. Confront them. And if you are the coach, make sure that everyone understands that free swing is FREE SWING and nothing else. Fire anyone who doesn't get it. The world needs more idiots and you will feel great if you release some from your team and donate them to the cause. Grab your balls and give it all you've got. That's the spirit of free swing and nothing else.

Do Something! You are at bat. 

Aureliano García.

No comments: