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Spring Training, Why Don't We Have Spring Training, and Shock The Monkey

I try to go to a spring training game once or twice a year and it serves as a useful check point - if I'm too busy to go my priorities and task management need adjusting. This year my friend Chris & I managed to adjust our schedules so that we could spend at afternoon watching the Atlanta Braves play the Mets at Champion Stadium here in Orlando (Disney) yesterday. Terrific day for it, probably mid 80's and a few clouds, enough sun to merit some sun block. Nice seats in the upper deck on the first base side. It's not that I'm a huge baseball fan, but there is definitely something zen as well as American about sitting in the sun for a few hours, watching the game, and definitely not thinking about the challenges of work and life. Down economy or not, the game was well attended, probably 90% of the seats were full or better.

Some pictures from the game:

IMG00124-20090317-1352    IMG00125-20090317-1352    IMG00126-20090317-1401

So even though I was there to relax (and did), the one thought that came to me was to wonder why in business don't have spring training. Obviously there are some differences and one of the big ones is that in business we are continually executing, but I think that's the problem that spring training fixes. We rarely have time to reassess our players, to identify weaknesses and strengths that change from year to year as people leave and join the team (or just grow more experienced), and to integrate new leaders into the culture of our particular businesses. I've made a couple deliberate attempts in my career to reinvent myself, and this seems like an interesting extension of that. Not a completely baked idea at this point, but imagine what you might do if you could just find a few days to stop, reassess, and refocus. Call it spring training, corporate makeover, or whatever, I don't think it happens enough.

Now on to some humor. One of the between inning games they played today was to pick someone from the crowd to listen to 15 seconds of a song and then guess the song. Luckily they didn't pick me, I didn't know the song or singer, closest guess I had was Steve Winwood. Not right, it was Peter Gabriel singing Shock the Monkey (lyrics here) and because I do like to think on things, I was then wondering....did they mean shock the monkey with electricity, or do something that would monkey cover his eyes? Naturally it was neither, according to Wikipedia it's a metaphor for feelings of jealousy. Which is a shame, because it's definitely entertaining to try to figure out what behavior would shock (dismay) a monkey!


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by John Magnabosco on 18 March 2009

In a similar thought: You nailed it on the head when you said that going to the ballpark has a zen quality to it. I throughly enjoy shouting out the words to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" with the crowd. I can't put my finger on it; but attending a ballgame lifts my spirit and leaves me feeling like I have been re-energized. Ahhh Spring is here!

PS: You definitely should get you some Peter Gabriel music.

Posted by Steve Jones on 18 March 2009

Isn't this the once a year team building?

Or maybe we should give everyone a week of getting used to that new reorg with some slowdown, relearn, restart that baseball players get.

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