Ted Williams voice as a baseball expert was unparalleled. As a kid, I was a huge baseball fan, reading anything I could on baseball strategy and how the game could be played better. One of my favorite books was “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams. As one of baseball’s greatest hitters (and the last person to hit .400 for a season), Williams had plenty of innovative advice and strategic insights to pass along.
The lesson that’s stayed with me to this day was depicted on the book’s original cover. It was a photograph of Ted Williams in the batter’s box with the strike zone depicted as 11 baseballs high and 7 baseballs across. And each color-coded baseball had a batting average listed on it corresponding to Williams’ expected batting average for pitches throughout his strike zone.
Belt high and over the plate, and he was a .400 hitter; low and away, and even the great Ted Williams knew he’d only hit .230. Williams’ point was he knew in what situations he’d be great (his “happy zone”) and in which he’d be less than average. As a result, his strategy was to only swing at pitches where he had a high probability of success.
That’s a great strategy well beyond baseball. Do you actively evaluate your strengths, your areas with the highest probabilities of innovation success, and strategically concentrate efforts on those areas? If not, maybe now’s the time to make sure you’re only swinging at good “innovation” pitches day in and day out. – Mike Brown