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I saw an amazing doc on former major league baseball pitcher Luis Tiant the other night. It’s called Lost Son of Havana and focuses on his return to Cuba after a 40 + year absence. Watch it if you can.

Tiant’s life and career resonated with me. He went through so much adversity to achieve his goals. There’s a lot anyone in business can learn from this man. Here is a cursory list of lessons.

  1. Pursue your goals, but understand uncontrollable variables may produce adverse circumstances. Tiant left Cuba and his family to pursue his dream, thinking he would be able to return. Because of Castro he was unable to return or see many members of his family until 2007. The lesson: the pursuit of goals requires incredible commitment and determination. But, don’t lose sight of the fact that when you are pursuing your business goals  things in the macro or micro environment may cause pain or problems EVEN if you achieve.
  2. Reinvention and change are not an option. When Tiant began his big league career he threw smoke. However, arm trouble forced him to change his style. This led to the famous windup that baffled hitters and mesmerized spectators. Tiant won 20 games on multiple occassions AFTER changing his style, and finished his 18 year career with over 220 wins . Resistance to change would have ended his career.  During the life of your business, you will likely experience some profound change that challenges its survival. Will you go on going on, or reinvent the way you do things?
  3. Start with a bang! Tiant struck out 11 batters beat the A.L. Champion Yankees 3-0 in his debut. It is amongst the strongest starts in MLB history. In business, when you launch do it with flair and panache. You only get one chance to come to market. Your debut needs to be good.

If you get a chance check out whatever you can on Luis Tiant. Really interesting man who can teach us a lot.

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