When I was growing up, Sparky Anderson was the manager of the Detroit Tigers. I loved the Tigers and baseball (still do…Joaquin Benoit is my Tiger).
[For trippy 80’s Tigers flashback, click on this link: Bless You Boys!...yes, people actually used to dress like that. For the record I was only three when this happened.]
Sparky was the central figure of the success of the mid-eighties Tigers, and especially their 1984 World Series win. Sure, Lance Parrish (my fav), Jack Morris, Alan Trammel, Tommy Brookens, and Sweet Lou all played critical roles, but Sparky had to do something that none of them had to do.
In an ideal setup in team sports, the individual players only have to worry about one thing: their own performance. Sparky had to worry about all of their performances. It is the manager’s job to essentially do two things: inspire his players to play at their top level and craft a game-plan that effectively utilizes these top level performances.
If the manager is only successful at one or the other, the team will fail. Sports history is replete with examples.
I liken my position with regards to technology tools, to the managerial role of a baseball team.
In class on Friday we learned the basics of at least six relatively new technology tools. It is up to us to manage these, and the myriad of other tools out there.
First, we have to form our roster. We have to decide which tools we need to get the job done. We have to decide which ones we can expect top performances out of. Just as importantly, we have to decide which ones we do not want on our team right now.
We might not need DropBox. We might need Evernote. We might send Google Reader to the minor leagues till we need him.
Next we have to decide how to best utilize our roster.
Excel is my leadoff hitter. I’m a former engineer. That should be enough explanation.
Batting second is PowerPoint. Always reliable for making contact. Batting third for me is Evernote. I’ve used this tool for a while now and am discovering new ways to use it (thanks to Friday’s class).
Batting clean-up is my iPhone. Greatest capability to knock it out of the park.
You get my point…
Maybe you don’t think of Excel and PowerPoint as tools? Yep, they are. Just like Diigo and Skype. Only difference is we’ve been using them for longer, so we know how to use them better and are less intimidated by them.
Believe you can get there with these new tools too. You did it once, you can do it again.
The trick (not easy) is to think of them as tools. Be Sparky. That’s never bad advice.