The Daydream of a Five-Tool F&B Player

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Summer is flying by. MLB has just completed its All-Star game, and baseball, like any well run sport or business, loves statistics. Baseball (at all levels) takes a very serious (fanatical?) approach when tracking, measuring and quantifying. In baseball you’ll find categories for RBI, HR, BA, ERA, saves, wins, and many other metrics of the game. If you’re in the F&B business you’d be well served to watch (like a hawk) your ROI, ROA, EBITDA, SpSqF, comps, “saves,” “wins,” and other business metrics.

In baseball, I’ve always been most intrigued by the rarity of a “five-tool” player. A “five-tool” player is thought to excel in all the skills necessary to become an elite player. As you might imagine, these skills include hitting prowess (which some measure as “on-base percentage” plus “slugging” or “OPS”), base-running and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities. In each era of MLB, there seems to be only a handful of players recognized as processing all “five tools.”

It can certainly be stated that by the time a baseball player has arrived at the professional level, they have spent years practicing, being coached, and playing in a multitude of actual games, all in an attempt to become more skilled at the above-mentioned five “necessities,” but only a few are ever acknowledged as being complete “five-tool” players. It would seem that desire, dedication, fate, and DNA all play a role in this designation.

The professional game of baseball would not survive if there were an absolute dependence upon “five-tool” players. The game of baseball understands that they are going to have to make a go of it with four-, three-, or two-tool players. Depending upon team needs, players who can catch and hit but can’t run, or who possesses any of the various shortfall combinations, could still survive and thrive in the “bigs.”

All of the above brings a few quick questions to my mind for those in F&B.

1) Have you ever defined what “five-tool” skills a “top player” (AKA manager) would need to be supremely successful in your organization? If you could draft and track the five essential management skills necessary for success or that you deem most important, what would they be?

2) Have you developed your “farm system” to the point where your managers (AKA top players) are able to practice skill development, over and over again, before they get to the major leagues? As this is what has been proven over and over again to be the successful approach to professional level skill development.

3) Have you come to terms with the fact that “five-tool” players and managers are rarer than hen’s teeth, and that you might have to adjust your “game” (systems and support) to acknowledge and thrive in this baseball and business reality?

Daydreaming is not necessarily a bad thing, but when historical facts present themselves, you might be best served by an awakening.