April 14, 2009

The Catcher Hypothesis

The Catcher Hypothesis Here’s an interesting nugget I just picked up from Harvard Business Review’s March issue in an article entitled “Making Mobility Matter,” by Richard Guzzo and Haig Nalbantian. Of the 30 teams in Major League baseball, 12 of the managers are former catchers.  A normal distribution would be 2 or 3.  Sounds like a case of a Gladwellian Outlier, doesn’t it?  The authors explain their theory here…that catchers face their teammates, that they are closest to the competition, that they have to keep track of a lot of things at once, be psychiatrists to flailing pitchers, etc.  Essentially that the kind of person who is a successful catcher has all the qualities of a successful manager. What’s the learning for business?  Part of having a strategic orientation towards the people in the business is making sure that you’re creating development paths for people, which is both good for them and good for the organization to train future leaders.  Another part is making sure great people don’t get bored — especially in tough economic times when organizations aren’t growing, new roles aren’t opening up, and promotions and even lateral moves are harder to come by. Back to the Catcher […]