Brian Downing was a Major League Baseball player from 1973-1992. In his first two years, he only hit .225 and .240. He did not appear to be the kind of player that would have a great career nor one that would be very long. However; Bill James later ranked Brian Downing as the 38th best Left Fielder of all time. James says speaking of Downing, “Over the years he underwent a quite remarkable transformation; in truth, I have never seen anything like it.” James says that Downing started working out, lifting weights, and developing his strength. He says that after several years he became a trim, powerful muscle man. His numbers began to improve and Downing had a great MLB career. James says Downing “was a constant surprise; he wound up his career in a far place from where he started (James, p.678).”
Isn’t this the goal of every person and organization who wants to maximize their potential, to wind up in a far (better) place from where they started? Improvement is something within the grasp of every one of us, and it can start immediately. The following steps will greatly enhance an individual or company in its quest to continually improve.
- Set a standard of excellence in all areas for which to strive
- Measure actual progress versus the standard at consistent, regular intervals
- Observe and learn from others who have achieved the standard of excellence for which you are striving
- Use all of the resources and tools available to you that will help you improve
- Reset the standards of excellence as necessary and measure accordingly
Edward D. Hess said, “Every business does not have to grow; it only has to continually improve to meet customer needs and differentiate itself from the competition. What should replace the grow or die axiom? It should be replaced by “improve to stay competitive (Hess, p.183).”
Remember, improvement is always possible.
*James, Bill (2001), The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
*Hess, Edward D. (2010), Smart Growth