Cultivating major league business talent requires more than natural gifts.

Prior to yesterday’s game the Yankees designated Cody Ransom for assignment. Now if I were writing a sports column, taking up space to report about dumping a journeyman player from a first place team that starts a critical 4 game series against their biggest rival would redefine absurd. But this isn’t a sports column and the 33 year old Cody Ransom who has spent the vast majority of his career as a minor leaguer is a relevant metaphorical business topic. I refer to Cody Ransom not as someone who has posted an anemic .233 lifetime major league batting average over 197 games played, but as Cody Ransom a truly phenomenal athlete….this Cody Ransom:

It’s easy to forget that even the most marginal professional ballplayer is a special athlete. To me it’s unfortunate that too many don’t recognize that cultivating major league business talent requires more than natural gifts.

Troubled economic conditions have a way of accelerating or shining a very bright spotlight on problems that had been there, but remained unaddressed during more favorable climates. These underlying issues were always there; all too often they were ignored or left unaddressed. As a result of my own professional focus I get to see this more than most, particularly the disastrous after-effects.

I’m more convinced than ever that the depths and dimensions of corporate volatility are created and solidified when conditions appear to be optimal. Rather than challenging the most gifted employees to continually improve, all too often, management makes excuses for their high-potential as well as their (apparently) high-performing employees.

In my opinion, instead of demanding excellence on all levels, most notably ethics and judgment, management—perhaps unintentionally— often fosters environments that encourage short-cuts and short-term action. As a result, knowledge and skill does not have the opportunity to become fully developed, especially at the levels required to excel in today’s more competitive and more educated, global economy.

It takes more than Cody Ransom’s awesome natural ability to make for a productive major league player just as it takes far more than having the right foundational components to develop an excellent business professional.

This past week I had two distinctly different and rather incredible experiences that compelled me to write about Cody Ransom getting cut by the Yankees and relating it in this highly generalized for business piece. My next two posts will speak to both these situations, each highly relevant to anyone in any business that intends to build sustainable high-performance organizations. Stay tuned.

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