The Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series in historic fashion. It was the first time in the history of all sports with seven-game series, that the “road team” won every game. That’s never happened before. It made for an exciting series, in which the visiting team overcame hostile environments in stadiums where few people wanted them to win.

So how’d they do it?

Let’s breakdown a few strategies applied by the road teams, and see what lessons can be learned about how to prepare for work on the road. Cause let’s face it, the majority of workers are the “road team” on job sites that take them away from their home field.

Limited distractions

The road team must limit distractions. Being in a new city, staying in hotels, traveling by bus back and forth to the stadium, and of course the game itself… all pose serious distractions to players. In order to fully focus on the task at hand, players must block out distractions and stay engaged with the game plan. Keep the routine, trust the coaches, play your game, and ignore the hecklers.

When distractions occur in the workplace, they can be much more significant than a lost ballgame….they can create life threatening situations. Workplace distractions can be visual, where the workers eyes are drawn away from the task… physical, where workers attempt to multi-task or are interrupted by others… or cognitive, which may be the most common, when workers think about a personal matter, day-dream about the weekend, etc.

Just like a ball player, workers need to avoid distractions and focus on the task at hand to achieve the objectives of the job… safely and efficiently.

Avoided Rust

Although it was a seven-game series, the games were played over a 10 day period. This created very few off days for players. During off days or before games, it was important for players to use time wisely.

Treatment in the training room, taking batting practice, or getting in some additional field work all help players stay sharp and avoid rust.

For workers, avoiding rust can be safety training, participating in job discussions, reviewing operational procedures, or performing maintenance on equipment. These are all examples of ways workers can remain sharp and avoid collecting rust that can quickly lead to an unwanted outcome.

Jobs Defined

Each member of a team has an important role to play. Coaches coach, trainers train, and players play their positions. To give the team the best chance for success, each member of the team must play their role to the best of their ability. Their role is known before the game begins, and is clearly identified and specifically trained for all season long.

Successful working teams should operate the same way. Each worker has a role to play, and the roles on a work crew should be clear and identified before any job begins. The supervisor, equipment operator, safety auditor, and front line worker all have key roles to play, and require specific training, authorization, and certification.

Show up Prepared

Seven games in ten days is a busy schedule, but in every game, players showed up ready to play. They were well rested, nourished and hydrated, and received medical treatment to optimize their performance.

Teams showed up with their uniforms. They packed their gloves, preferred set of baseball bats, and other game day equipment. It is a long flight between Houston and Washington D.C., so it was important to be prepared.

Showing up ready to play, with the tools and equipment necessary, is vital for success in sports and in the workplace. The need to be rested, nourished, hydrated and fit-for-duty is equally important.

When the working team is on the road, making sure the right tools, materials and equipment are along for the ride is critical for a safe and efficient working situation.

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