Now at Bat: The Fundamentals You Need to Clinch a Successful Career

Clinch a Successful Career

The San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals face off in this year's World Series. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a passive enthusiast, you likely have a favorite team. But here's a look at how one team made it this far, the fundamentals that got them there and what you can learn from their success.

The Royals are the most talked about baseball phenomenon since mighty Casey struck out. They came out of nowhere, swept the playoffs and made it to their first World Series since 1985. How have they done it? According to the Royals’ Alex Gordon: “Good pitching, good defense and scratch out a win.” Translation: When it comes to success in baseball, the fundamentals are key.

The same is true if you’re hoping to build a successful career in a profession that doesn’t involve cleats or a glove. Here are four of the most important fundamentals to focus on:

1. Follow through

Every hitter knows a good swing requires proper follow-through to really drive the ball. Score points with managers and colleagues by completing tasks you’ve been asked to take on and keeping them apprised of your progress. At the same time, don’t take on more than you can realistically handle. Few things are more damaging to your professional reputation than repeatedly dropping the ball. Biting off more than you can chew will only backfire and cause coworkers to question your time management and reliability.

2. Keep your ego in check

Though the Royals are confident, they’re not calling their home run shots like Babe Ruth famously did. Follow suit and remember that an arrogant attitude can quickly derail a successful career. Being overly confident is one of the most common ways to blow the job interview. And it’s a good way to turn off colleagues. Although you should seek credit for your hard work, don’t toot your horn too loudly and give others credit when they deserve it.

3. Commit to training

Rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura has had a breakout year. But he wasn’t always seen as a lock to make the major leagues. Over the past few years, he’s added extra mph to his fastball (so much so that it regularly hits triple digits), improved his changeup and pitched with more consistent command.

Like Ventura, those with a successful career are committed to continual improvement. Take advantage of professional development opportunities offered through your employer, as well as outside organizations. Everyone has an excuse holding back their career training (“I just don’t have the time!”). Few of those hold water, though.

4. Be a team player

While Ventura has gotten a lot of press this year, Royals fans know he’s just one of the talented pitchers on staff. Closer Greg Holland made the All-Star team again this year, and reliever Wade Davis posted a miniscule 1.00 ERA in 71 regular-season appearances.

The point here is that, like a baseball team, a work team is made up of many professionals. One person doesn’t have the skills and experience to do it all alone. Don’t be afraid to lean on your team when you need specialized expertise (or an extra set of eyes to look over an email to the department VP). Having a successful career requires you to surround yourself with other successful people.

Disclaimer: This above post does not necessarily endorse the Royals. As a San Francisco Bay Area-based company, Robert Half supports our beloved Giants. May the best team win the World Series!

Are you a former underdog now enjoying a successful career? Share the fundamentals that helped turn you into a superstar at work in the comments section.

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