There are two types of baseball teams, aside from the winners and losers.

  1. Point-to-point
  2. Manufacturers

It is helpful to understand this bit of baseball lore because there is some connection between these two organizational types and career management.
Manufacturing A Job LeadPoint-to-point teams are those with good hitters.  They may or may not be speedy running the bases but they are as dependable as a any baseball player can be when it his their turn to bat.  Here is how this type of team works:  They get a single putting a runner on first.  The runner stays put until he is advanced by a walk, another hit or a sacrifice fly out.  They repeat this process over and over.  Typically teams that employ this strategy lack the base stealing speed; their big hitters aren’t that fast.  They live or die win/loss column by what their hitters produce to move each player along the base paths.

Manufacturers are those teams that lack the batting power but have above average speed and, equally important, a good eye for the strike zone. They are the beneficiaries of more walks than those teams with strong hitters.  They view a base on balls the same as a hit.  These teams get a runner on first.  He steals second.  He advances to third on a stolen base, a hit or a sacrifice fly and scores on a sacrifice or a hit.  The Houston Astros were the master’s  of the manufactured run through much of their time in the National League, when they played in cavernous Houston Astrodome.  I once saw them score two runs without ever getting a hit. I am sure that happened on more than once occasion.

The last team to win a game without getting a hit were the Los Angeles Dodgers against the LA Angels on June 28, 2008.  The Dodgers did not get a hit, yet won the game. The Angels did not allow a hit, yet lost the game. The final score was 1-0, marking the fifth time since 1900 that a team did not get a hit but won the game.

The Dodgers manufactured a win.

So, what the heck does this have to with career management you ask? A lot, actually.

The majority of candidates in the job market are point-to-point because they hate to make “cold” calls, they do not like rejection, or any number of other reasons.  If they hear about a job, they may send their resume but they stay on first base until there is an opportunity to advance.  These sit-back-and-wait-and-see candidates typically are in the job market longer than those who aggressively manufacture opportunities.  A few find similar jobs, some settle for less and a few, based on their proximity to retirement, go ahead and leave the workforce.

Other job seekers are manufacturers.  For example, Dan, an executive I reported on in my podcast.  He was terminated by a new boss even though he consistently made his performance targets.  Their decision was a big shock to Dan but, with the help of his wife, a former senior executive with a major corporation, he created a plan for his job search.   In that plan, Dan identified more than a dozen companies in his field that he would like to work for and, using LinkedIn, he began to identify people who worked for the companies and sent invites to connect.

He also made telephone calls to industry sources he had — vendors, consultants and association leaders — to determine who they knew and verifying that the particular company was, in fact, a place where he would like to work.  His goal was to find and connect with a senior executive who was an influencer.

He was not a sit-and-wait (a point-to-point) candidate.

Dan also worked the telephones when he became aware of an opportunity outside his targeted companies.  He used industry periodicals and set up news alerts on Google to track information on his industry and his targeted companies.

Dan was determined to make something happen.  He had a good story, an excellent record of accomplishment and a wonderful team supporting him — his outplacement advisor and a his wife.

He was a manufacturer.