As the 2015 baseball season opened, I had a chance to sit down with two of Andesa’s all-stars.
For four seasons (2007 to 2010), Jared Frey and Mike Kacelowicz patrolled the infield of Kutztown University’s baseball diamond. As senior co-captains, they led the 2010 Golden Bears to a 42-15 record, a stellar .737 winning percentage. Jared had a career season, hitting .389 and gathering 68 hits. Mike hit .319, his career batting average, collecting 59 hits on his way to being tied for 5th place on Kutzown’s all-time career hit list.
Flash forward five years and these two diamond stalwarts are now ”corporate athletes.” Jared serves as a Senior Client Services Representative, working to serve our clients and being responsible for supporting a team of new representatives. Mike holds the role of Analyst, working closely with our clients to research, interpret and test our proprietary systems. Both continue to move up the ranks and are quietly applying their leadership skills once again as part of a high-performance team.
I asked them, “What did playing competitive baseball at such a high level teach you about success in the corporate world?” Our discussion focused on four primary lessons:
Jared told me the story of Bob Care, former owner of Play Ball in Reading, PA. Part mentor and part life guru, Bob would have a soft toss and talk about life concepts. Bob talked to young men about life after baseball and becoming a “Corporate Athlete” – a term which has stuck with Jared to this day. To be a corporate athlete means applying the same approach and discipline to your work and career as you did in becoming a better baseball player.
To improve you must practice. You must be disciplined and focused in your training regimen. There are many competing for your position on the team, and at the next level the competition is even fiercer; so you always have to be working and thinking about what you can do to make yourself and the team better. That same discipline needed to reach the next level in baseball is the attitude you need to bring to your approach to your assignments and to the corporate world every day.
To play a competitive sport at the NCAA level requires a strong sense of priorities and time management. Short-term demands of conditioning, practice, travel and games in pursuit of championship aspirations need to be balanced with the longer-term outlook of obtaining an education and preparing for life after baseball. This conflict requires making smart decisions, prioritizing objectives and being able to accomplish multiple tasks which are often at odds with each other. Translate that to the corporate world where short-term client demands change, yet there is a need to invest in training and improving internal processes for the long-term. The same skills of prioritization and time management apply as much in the corporate world as in college athletics.
Ultimately, baseball is a team sport. Success isn’t measured by individual performance, but by the performance of individuals on the team. To be a successful team, the individual must sometimes sacrifice their individual stats to position the team for a win. The team goal is paramount, and demands a certain humility and ethic if the team is to be successful. It is a realization that accomplishments as individuals pale in comparison to what can be accomplished by the team. Each member has a different role; and it is important that everyone understands the expectations of them and how they contribute to winning. When a teammate drops the ball, someone needs to make up for the error on the next play. That’s what teammates do because they are working towards a common goal. Not everyone is going to have a great day every day, but a team supports one another and contributes to the overall cause.
A team is made up of a collection of individuals, with individual gifts and personalities. Being senior co-captains taught Jared and Mike the art of managing multiple 18-22 year-old young men. Suffering through training together and staying focused on the goal of winning brought a common culture among the team. Encouraging one another, and understanding that how you conduct yourself on and off the field as captain was establishing the model for the younger teammates, was critical to accepting the mantle of leadership.
It’s a tremendous blessing watching these two teammates and humble young men bring their life lessons and skills to Andesa everyday – adding value to our clients and our employee environment. We are honored to have them on the Andesa Team.