Tag Archives: Yogi Berra

I really didn’t say everything I said

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra died Tuesday night. He was a member of 10 World Series championship teams as a as a Yankee and a three-time MVP He had 358 career home runs and was considered one of the greatest players of all time on the field.

He was also one of sports most quotable players with phrases or Yogi-isms that have become part of popular culture.

I have been using some of these Yogi-isms in facilitation exercises for years. One of my favourites in a strategic planning exercise is:

“If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”

yogiHere is a sampling of famous Yogi-isms.

On his approach to at-bats: “You can’t think and hit at the same time.”

On selecting a restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

On economics: “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

On the 1973 Mets: “We were overwhelming underdogs.”

On how events sometimes seem to repeat themselves “It’s deja vu all over again!”

On baseball attendance: “If people don’t come to the ballpark, how are you gonna stop them?”

On a slipping batting average: “Slump? I ain’t in no slump. … I just ain’t hitting.”

On travel directions: “When you come to a fork in the road take it.”

On pregame rest: “I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4.”

On battling the shadows in left field at Yankee Stadium: “It gets late early out there.”

On fan mail: “Never answer an anonymous letter.”

On being told he looked cool: “You don’t look so hot yourself.”

On being asked what time it was: “You mean now?”

On being given a day in his honor: “Thank you for making this day necessary.”

On a spring training drill: “Pair off in threes.”

On his approach to playing baseball: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

On death: “Always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

On learning: “You can observe a lot by watching.”

On his team’s diminishing pennant chances: “It ain’t over `till it’s over.”

On the fractured syntax attributed to him: “I really didn’t say everything I said.”



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Yogi and Strategic Planning

Rhodes croppedBy Stephen Rhodes

“The future ain’t what it used to be,” Yogi Berra once said.

Strategic planning identifies where a business or organization wants to be at some point in the future and how it is going to get there.

It scares people, in part, because it seems so remote from the tactics required to keep one’s eye on the ball, especially now. The old joke about draining the swamp when you are up to your keester in alligators comes to mind.

Strategy is about looking around corners a few years away, while many businesses are currently focused on what’s happening right now and rightly so.

Last week, I was one of the mentors at the Brampton Small Business Enterprise Centre’s Energize Your Business workshop. I had table chats about strategic planning with four groups of eight businesses, all different,  but all wondering if long-range planning was some sort of magic elixir, perhaps because the short-term view was so unappealing.

Some openly mused about the value of strategic planning in such a volatile environment. And nearly all complained about external factors, things they could not control, impacting success.

yogiI talked about better understanding internal and external factors and suggested each conduct a simple SWOT analysis to separate the things they could control from those they could not.  Planning helps identify what they are and forces you to think about how you might respond.

Most of the 32 businesses were coping, some even doing better than expected. But only one had a plan that spanned more than a year.

The “strategic” part of planning is the need to pay attention to changes that impact your business – internal and external -over a period of time. Unless you have a crystal ball, strategic plans will undoubtedly require course corrections.

As Yogi would say, “you gotta be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, otherwise you might not get there.”

Do you have a vision and a long-range plan for your business or organization? How is it weathering the current economic storm?

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