The Atlanta Braves are the new World Series champions – the team’s first in over 20 years. As usual, the sports commentariat is all abuzz about how they won, viewership numbers, and all the rest.
One of the many important decisions the Braves made on the way to victory happened in Game 3. The Braves were ahead 2-0 midway through the game when Braves coach Brian Snitker pulled starting pitcher Ian Anderson. The decision kept a starter well-rested and utilized four rested reserve pitchers to stave off a potential comeback by the Astros.
It was good, smart baseball. It gave the Braves a 2-1 series lead. But none of that mattered to Wall Street Journal sportswriter Jared Diamond, who endorsed the decision as “backed up by sound data” with “plenty of valid reasons” behind it. Yet, according to Diamon, the decision was “controversial” because it was…boring.
That’s right. Winning one of the biggest events in a multi-billion-dollar industry is “boring.” Making the right call on that way to victory is “controversial.” But welcome to 2021, where winning with the best information and process is boring, and one of the biggest newspapers in the nation publishes such an opinion.
Haters are everywhere
Diamond’s column is an example of why most of the time, we should ignore our haters, trolls, and critics. The sports industry knows this; teams have ignored haters for decades even as they trade players, make game-time decisions, change cities, and deal with Monday Morning Quarterbacks. They know that winning makes many passionate critics go away, and keeps most fans happy.
Unfortunately, many businesses haven’t learned this lesson. We see it as major corporations retreat from Twitter mobs over small “offenses,” ping-pong decision-making to keep up with ever-changing mob viewpoints and values, and generally find themselves under a microscope which 15 years ago simply didn’t exist.
Almost all haters are a distraction from success, even though they are plentiful in a time when barriers of entry to opinionating are lower than ever.
Success is often “boring
The Braves aren’t the first championship organization to be “boring” on the way to victory. The Seattle Seahawks were the victims of such accusations after their crushing 2014 Super Bowl victory. And while one clear-headed commentator put this disparaging rumor to rest, the Seahawks probably didn’t care what the Monday morning quarterbacks and keyboard warriors thought.
The difference between success and mediocrity is often what’s “boring.” A business owner, political leader, or celebrity who responds to every critic gets a lot of attention but may be diluting scarce resources like time, reputation, and money. Boeing stayed silent last year when former South Carolina governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley blasted the company for seeking federal money during the pandemic. It was the right choice because Haley’s supporters in conservative press were irrelevant to Boeing, which secured $25 billion in funding. Staying silent minimized the negative news cycle and kept Boeing focused on its end goal.
I actually like boring. A lot. Boring old accounting is often the difference between success and failure in business, and disciplined messaging builds brand positioning more quickly and wins more victories than being all over the map. Business owners should win their own World Series by building a straightforward strategy for brand positioning and trust protection which includes:
- Prioritizing the company’s unique value to customers instead of trying to figure out ever-changing customer values. This drives more revenue with less risk before controversy arrives.
- Building relationships with stakeholders who matter so that when the haters do arrive, you’re given the benefit of the doubt with investors, customers, and the press.
- Not panicking. The Braves and Boeing had different target markets than their critics, and they stayed true on their paths to victory.
In the end, the Braves don’t care what Jared Diamond thinks. They focused on winning because that’s the most exciting thing of all.
This item was authored by Proven Media Solutions founder Dustin Siggins, and originally appeared in InsideSources.com.