I frickin’ love Major League Baseball.
The Texas Rangers, in particular. I live in Colorado now, but I grew up in a small town in northeast Texas, and so I spent plenty of my days in the backyard pretending to be Ruben Sierra, Oddibe McDowell, or Nolan Ryan.
Well, MLB’s Opening Day was yesterday and the Rangers got absolutely crushed by the Chicago Cubs, 12-4. Oooof.
But so what. Big deal. It was Opening Day. Launch Day.
1 down. 161 to go.
That’s right. There are 162 games in baseball’s regular season.
By comparison, the NFL plays 16, the NBA and NHL play 82, the Premier League plays 38.
So yes, relatively speaking, 162 games is a long regular season that puts the fanfare of Opening Day in perspective.
After the banners have been lowered and the splashy logos are cleaned away from the grass behind home plate, the teams will get back in the gym, show up for drills, and suit up for another game.
And then another. And another.
Opening Day = Product Launch. Fun, but Short-lived!
I love launches. The big deploy that changes things dramatically for our visitors and customers should be celebrated.
Celebrations help build a fun, healthy culture that people want to contribute to and be part of. Hang banners! Make signs! Lift people up!
Finding the energy to grind through a brutal regular season or the Long, Slow SaaS Ramp of Death ain’t easy, and it’ll be damned near impossible or ultimately not worth it if you aren’t having some fun along the way.
At Mocavo we had a gong that we’d bang to mark these sorts of monumental pushes and to acknowledge the entire team’s contribution.
We’d go grab lunch or relax on the roof deck together for a while … and then get back to work on the next thing.
Back to work.
Not with the slump-shouldered melancholy of the “‘Nuther day in the cubicle” set; but with focus, drive, and ambition! Not because of a gong – not in the least – but because of what those celebrations embodied: teamwork and purpose.
Banners and Gongs Aren’t Enough
Anyone who only watches baseball for the pageantry of Opening Day is probably not going to be a fan for long. 1 out of 162 isn’t a real good payoff.
And anyone who gets into tech for Launch Day and gong-worthy deploys is also likely to be quite disappointed.
The perseverance to keep showing up can’t only come from mountaintop experiences. They’re too few and far between. To show up for the long, slow, boring in-between, the motivation has to come from within.
Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose
The topic of motivation and showing up with as much or more focus for Game 121 as you did for Opening Day is its own post altogether!
So I’ll leave you for now with one of my favorite talks of all time on this topic.
In his iconic talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” and in his book, “Drive”, Pink describes how the three factors that contribute most to the motivation and happiness of knowledge workers (that’s us and most of your team) is not salary, cake parties, or gongs; but Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
If you take one thing away from this email, let it be that you find 18 minutes and 33 seconds to watch that video and let it change how you manage your team or anchor your own motivation.
Back to Work
Alright, time for me to push this super fun Mailchimp Send button, get a fleeting rush of excitement from the initial flurry of opens and replies … and then get back to work.
A Few Things I Enjoyed this Week
My wife and I have been following the elimination diet described in this book for the past 30 days. It’s incredibly inconvenient but I’ve noticed a significant change in my mood, focus, and energy. YMMV.
I didn’t get to attend MicroConf this year, but seeing it show up in my feed reminded me how much I’ve learned from their video archive.
“Sign” by VHS Collection is (so far) my favorite song of the year. While playing it for my 11-year-old, she asked, “What’s a VHS?”