Cory Gearrin shares five business lessons learned from the ball field

Contributed photography / Cory Gearrin, Hamilton County deputy mayor of economic and community development
Contributed photography / Cory Gearrin, Hamilton County deputy mayor of economic and community development


Stepping off the baseball diamond and into the world of business and public service as deputy mayor for economic and Community development for Hamilton County has been an eye-opening transition. The world of professional sports has given me some invaluable insights that have helped me along the way and may resonate with other business leaders. Drawing from my experiences, over 14 years in professional sports and ten seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), here are five lessons that bridge the gap between the sports arena and the boardroom:

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." -- Michael Jordan

Cultivating team dynamics and collaboration: As a former MLB player, I witnessed the magic that happens when individuals unite to form a team. Sports teams thrive when each member contributes their unique strengths; and businesses flourish when employees work toward shared goals with open communication, using their diverse talents to achieve collective success.

According to a survey by PwC, 64% of CEOs believe that agility -- the ability to quickly change and adapt -- is a key driver of successful business transformations.

Adapting in a dynamic environment: The baseball field is an ever-changing landscape, demanding quick thinking and adaptability. This lesson holds true for business leaders facing shifting markets and evolving industry landscapes. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth, encourage a culture of flexibility, and equip your teams with the skills to pivot and thrive in changing conditions.

"Leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in your charge." -- Simon Sinek

Leadership that inspires and motivates: Much like a sports captain, business leaders are tasked with motivating their teams toward victory. In sports, leadership is earned through actions, not just titles. Effective sports leaders inspire their teammates with dedication and hard work. By embodying the qualities you seek in your team, you'll more likely foster a culture of inspiration, commitment and shared purpose.

A Harvard Business Review study found that CEOs who are skilled at managing high-pressure situations achieve a 10% higher return on assets.

Delivering under pressure: Game-deciding moments in sports parallel the high-stakes decisions business leaders face. Athletes have techniques to stay composed under pressure; similarly, business leaders can develop strategies to make well-informed decisions when stakes are high. Train your teams to manage stress, maintain focus and excel in demanding situations, ensuring clarity and effectiveness.

According to Forbes, companies that use data-driven insights are more than twice as likely to have significantly improved decision-making capabilities.

Leveraging data-driven insights: In the modern sports landscape, data analytics play a pivotal role in strategy development and player performance enhancement. Business leaders can take a page from this playbook by harnessing data to inform their decisions. By utilizing data-driven insights, you'll be better equipped to anticipate trends, optimize processes and make informed choices for your organization's growth.

Cory Gearrin is a former Major League Baseball player who enjoyed a 14 year professional career for teams including the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants, while also leading off the field as an elected representative for Major League Baseball's Executive Player Committee. Today, he serves as the Deputy Mayor of Hamilton County in Chattanooga.


Upcoming Events