On May 6, New York Yankees starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia was struggling to maintain an early innings lead against the Seattle Mariners. Sabathia, who has declared his intention to retire at the end of this season, is popular among his teammates. He is a team player who exhibits no reluctance to brush back an opposing hitter when one of his own teammates has been thrown at.
In baseball’s rules of the game, a starting pitcher must complete five full innings before being awarded a victory. Sabathia was in the middle of the fifth inning when his struggles began.
Under ordinary circumstances, one additional victory is not particularly relevant to a pitcher. In this particular circumstance, though, one more victory would move Sabathia two victories away from 250 career wins. When paired with his more than 3,000 strikeouts, 250 career wins would present a compelling argument for Sabathia’s admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone enjoys a reputation as a player’s manager. He is known for keeping things loose, which appeals to today’s player. He replaced manager Joe Girardi, who appeared to be a little less affable.
Every major league baseball team carries a roster of 25 active players. On May 6, 25 New York Yankees players watched manager Aaron Boone stick with his popular starting pitcher, although he easily could have gone to his bullpen to stop the scoring. This “little thing” spoke volumes about his respect for this one pitcher and by extension for all the players on his team. He was willing to step up and potentially take one for the team, as analysts and fans would have piled on the next day had the scoring continued.
Over the course of a 162-game season, relationships matter a great deal. Aaron Boone’s relationship with his players became a little stronger that night.
Many years ago, the president of the company for which I worked asked that I follow up on a minor item of business. From start to finish, it would have taken me all of five minutes to transact this business. For reasons now forgotten, I failed to do so. My reputation for reliability sank a little when the president asked me to report on my findings.
After taking a prospective client to lunch, I was surprised to receive a thank you note in the mail three days later. The fact I remember his note 30 years later shows this little thing left a big impression.
I work with a dear client who texts me a birthday greeting each year. This little act takes her a few minutes, but it means the world to me.
In the insurance industry, as in all industries, there are many opportunities to turn little things into big results. The practice starts with what I like to call “conscientious mindfulness.” Small acts such as saying “Good morning,” arriving to meetings on time, responding to emails promptly, getting to know something about a strategic partner’s personal life, and sometimes calling a client to simply learn how he or she is doing are just a few small things that can, over time, produce outsized results.
When you are finished reading this article, I suggest taking a five-minute break to begin your own exercise of conscientious mindfulness. Think of all the small things that could go a long way toward strengthening relationships with the many people who are important to you.
Next, consider taking a few minutes each day to engage in conscientious mindfulness. Allow your mind to float freely as you identify small acts that can produce large results.
Of course, some actions are more forceful than others. In our business, insureds’ most urgent wish is that we help to reduce and transfer their risk. They don’t look to us for entertainment, spiritual guidance or intellectual enlightenment. When engaging in your exercise of conscientious mindfulness, think most deeply on actions that will reassure insureds their risk has been properly managed.
If you find this process to be useful, share it with colleagues in your office. An office filled with people who are purposefully mindful about their relationships with colleagues and insureds is going to be a happy, successful workplace.
According to Greek philosopher Plato, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Although Plato hardly needs my affirmation, I agree with his words. By carefully examining all of our relationships, we will begin to take action toward making each of them stronger.
Stronger relationships will produce a stronger you.