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On a Losing Streak? How to Win the Final Stretch

A close friend of mine, Tom Schaff, sent me his thoughts on his beloved St. Louis Cardinals and their winning of the 2011 World Series:
"What if your 4th quarter effort was like the Cardinals? The Cardinals trailed the Braves in the wild card race by 10 1/2 games with 32 left on the schedule. They trailed the Braves by three games with five to play. They trailed the Phillies 1-0 and 2-1 in the NLDS. They trailed the Brewers 1-0 in the NLCS. They trailed the Rangers 3-2 in the World Series. The trailed the Rangers five times in Game 6. Then they won Game 7 and their 11th World Series.

The lesson is clear - CEOs, don't give up. Grind it out. One game at a time. Have every member of your team show up and contribute. Do your best. Do the little things. Forgive each other's errors and lift each other. Love each other. Have some fun. Cherish your unexpected "squirrels." Win. And win. And win.

I am at best a World Series-only baseball fan, but the story of the St. Louis Cardinals this year was so compelling, I got sucked in.

In the world of sales, I have been hearing companies subconsciously starting to write-off the year. Oh, not OUT LOUD in public places, but in the subtle comments that are more damaging. Statements like -

  • "In the next budget cycle, make certain that you include that projection."
  • "Let's not count on any of that revenue this year."
  • "Let's push for a January 1 start on that project."
What are we telling our team with these types of comments?

This season's over... focus on next year.
My friend, Tom Schaff, would say, "Don't be a loser, be a Cardinal!" Focus on what is right in front of you: this game, this out, this at bat. Grind out the hard day-to-day details that stack up into your big wins.

Thanks, Tom, for a great reminder that the season is not over and that until the last strike of the last out of the last game, there is always time left to win.

Tom Searcy is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and the foremost expert in large account sales.

Photo courtesy of flickr Keith Allison cc