Fixing a Throwback Problem


Wiffle Ball (backyard baseball) is a real love of mine.  A plastic bat, 2 or 3 players, 6 to 8 Wiffle balls, a homerun fence about 70 feet away and you are good to go.  

 Unless you have pet peeves.  And I do.

One of which is this; When you are pitching to the other team or player, the least you should expect after throwing all the balls in, is that all the balls get thrown back somewhere remotely close to you.   For 30 years and thousands of games, this has been a problem.     


Because no matter who you play with from young kids to your adult friends, you are liable to get balls thrown back to you that are 10 feet left, 10 feet right, 10 feet short or 10 feet over your head. 

It slows down the game and frankly drives me insane.

So until a few weeks ago my effort to fix this problem was to progressively ask, then beg, then whine, then complain and then scream for everyone to please try and throw the balls back at least close to me, the pitcher. 

It didn’t work.  Balls were thrown back any which way (including the dreaded “soccer kick” and “plastic bat golf swing” of the balls back to the mound).

About 4 weeks ago it dawned on me.  I put a little plastic bucket at my feet when I pitched (see picture above of actual bucket in my backyard) and proclaimed new rules that an automatic run would score if upon the throwback to the mound, the ball landed in the bucket.   

It’s a rare moment when a ball actually lands or bounces into the bucket (it’s only 6 inches deep) so you’re not changing the outcome of any game and throwing the balance of the world out of whack but since then, almost every ball gets close to the bucket and hence, the pitcher.    Now everyone uses the “bucket rule”.  Problem solved.  Game on.

The point is kind of simple.  It’s either (or both) that I am a full Ginzu set of knives short of a silverware drawer for not thinking of this for 3 decades or it is that to change behaviors, sometimes asking for or demanding a behavior change does not work. 

Sometimes an incentive is better.

So the questions are, what work behavioral pet peeves do you have? And what could an incentive do for you?

  •  Your sales team is struggling to make the time to learn more about the industry they call upon or service?  Bury “incentives” in the details of industry knowledge materials you post on the Wiki.  (i.e. offer rewards for learning or knowing)
  • CRMor lead generation data not getting updated correctly or completely? Add a small “accelerator” to your SIP for quality detail about and for our customers.

There are a dozen more pet peeves for sure but don’t wait for years to figure out a solution to a nagging behavioral problem like I did.  I only wish I had thought of the “bucket rule” back when I was 12 and I probably would have gotten a few hundred more games in.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.



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