By Brandon Steiner
Summertime in my business means MLB’s Mid-Summer Classic: the All-Star Game. Something that has always fascinated me about it is how the players are chosen. There are no minimum statistical requirements a player has to meet. Fans, players and managers vote to determine the same number of All-Stars every season.
Think about that for a second: theoretically, the league could collectively hit .200 and set a record for total errors, strikeouts and any number of other failures, and there would be the same amount of “All-Stars” that year as any other.
That’s because the All-Star game, contrary to the purpose most of us ascribe to it, is less about celebrating the game’s best players and more about celebrating all of the players.
All-Star games are Major League Baseball’s way of taking a moment to acknowledge the human capital that fuels the entire operation, including the fans. To many, MLB mandating that every team have at least one All-Star may seem like a marketing ploy to ensure no media market is left without representation, but to me it’s good business. It’s a way of recognizing that each team is a vital cog in the behemoth that is Major League Baseball.
As business people, we know that recognition is the currency employees most crave outside of compensation. Beyond the sports field, we too should take time in the middle of our year to recognize the people who make our companies what they are and let them soak in some recognition for their hard work and success.
This isn’t happening because most CEOs — and I’m as guilty as the next — look for all the things their teams are coming up short on and magnify them, but the All-Star Game should remind us that it’s just as important to recognize all the things that those people are doing right.
Every business should make celebrating their “teams” a point of emphasis. Let people take a deep breath and feel proud of all they have accomplished. Consider handing out different awards tailored to the specific roles your employees are responsible for.
We already come close to doing this by holding company holiday parties. But that’s a fairly indirect way of saying thanks since it’s virtually mandatory for companies to host these get-togethers.
I’m talking about a celebration that has nothing to do with religion, culture or any other sweeping institution. I’m taking about a celebration that is for your employees and your employees only.
So as you watch any All-Star Game, regardless of sport, take note of how joyful the players look on the field, court or ice. Their expressions aren’t saying, “We’re proud to be the best.” They’re saying: “We’re happy to be a part of this organization.” We should strive to capture that same feeling in our employees.
Brandon Steiner is an author, philanthropist and CEO of the nation’s premiere sports memorabilia company, Steiner Sports.