Monday, February 11, 2013

Communications: Mind the Gap

Sometimes leadership looks right past communications, when they should be confronting it as a root cause of a problem at the center.

This point came alive for me in a couple of news stories I’d seen recently about Major League Baseball’s decision to finally allow interpreters to accompany managers and pitching coaches to the pitching mound to have conversations with their pitchers about strategy — often the key to the game.

Talk about being behind the eight ball!  How long have there been non-English speaking baseball players?  For decades.

In 2011 alone, 27 percent of all players were Latinos, and more than 2% were Asian.  Last year, the total number of foreign born players rose to 243 (or 28.4 percent).  In the Minor Leagues, the place of future resources for the Majors, today nearly half of players were born outside of the U.S., representing 41 countries. 

Hello-o-o!  Where have you been, MLB?  To date, managers and coaches visiting the mound with a pitcher who does not speak English have had to resort to their own made-up sign language or spotty word knowledge … which often led to misunderstandings. You have to wonder where management’s brain is when the game itself is based on good communications.  Sort of unbelievable.  Now the gap will be covered, so let’s see how it works out.

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