Even Small Business Leaders Must Apply the “Trading Deadline” Sometimes

In the movie “A League of Their Own,” about women’s professional baseball leagues during World War II, team manager Jimmy Dugan, played by actor Tom Hanks, proclaimed:

“There’s no crying in baseball.”

Well, it turns out there is.

During Wednesday night’s game New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores, after hearing, erroneously, the Mets had traded him, began to cry and had to be taken out of the lineup.

This is because Flores thought he had been “traded.” (thanks to social media posts sent during the game!)

This has been happening all week in Major League Baseball.

The trading, not the crying.

That’s because 4p.m. today is the “trading deadline.”

This means teams desiring to acquire players they see as a better fit to make a run at a championship, must agree with that player’s current team to exchange (trade) one of their existing players.

After 4p.m. today a transaction like that can still be made but the newly acquired player will not be eligible to play in the post season championship tournament, which negates the reason for acquiring that player.

What does any of this have to do with small business teams?


Because too many small business owners hold on far too long to employees who are no longer a fit for their teams.

Poor attitudes and performance is tolerated in the workplace.

Newer employees brought into the work environment see under-performing employees with bad attitudes tolerated and worked around.

The new employee’s motivation and morale evaporate rapidly, undermining the work environment.

Not one of my clients who has applied the “trading deadline” to certain employees, has ever said to me, “Skip, we let that person go too soon, they’re killing us since our competition hired them.”


The response has always been, “Skip, thanks for pushing us to make that move, I wish we did that a year ago (or more).”

Applying the “trading deadline” in small business must be done strategically and in a compassionate, empathetic manner.

It can’t be as abrupt and sometimes surprisingly, as done in sports.

But, it still must be part of any company’s Performance Management Playbook.

There are five steps to appropriately applying the “trading deadline,” which I’ll share in one of next week’s postings, stay tuned.

What do you think about my concept of the “trading deadline” for small business personnel management? Leave a comment below.

’til next time, Communicate with Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach

13 thoughts on “Even Small Business Leaders Must Apply the “Trading Deadline” Sometimes

  1. Alisa says:

    I have also seen where you have employees waiting to retire and projecting that lazy, cannot wait to leave attitude….just buying time. This attitude contributes nothing to the success of the organization or moral of those trying to make a difference!

  2. Lisa says:

    Skip, this is spot on. I am a big fan of mutual loyalties between companies and employees. But the key is mutual. Loyalty cannot be pure sentiment; it must be based in solid fact (engagement, results, productivity,… from the employee, and recognition, transparency, opportunity,…from the employer). If everyone is not rowing the same boat, you’ve got nothing but two boats sitting in the harbor getting nowhere.

    I love your stuff!

  3. Karen says:

    I love how you write and tie in real life to work life. I appreciate how you express yourself for everyone reading, not just as the writer. Keep them coming! Happy Friday.


  4. Skip Weisman says:

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, you are absolutely right the situations you describe are more frequent than most people will admit, I’m sure. This is a performance management issue and there may be a solution to it in many circumstances, if recognized. Those more senior team members need to have their roles redefined in a way that can give them value for the remaining years and still contribute to the team/company results. Because of their vast experience they may be able to be used as mentors and coaches whereby they hand down valuable information to new, upcoming team members. It’s one of those direct/candid conversations that needs to take place that are often avoided because they are viewed as “difficult,” so we tolerate the poor behavior and attitudes.

    Thanks, again for being inspired to comment here, please come back and contribute again.

  5. Skip Weisman says:

    Thanks for being inspired to come back and leave a comment. It’s up to the employer to create the environment where the employee is enthusiastic about contributing to the cause/mission/purpose of the company. It works in sports because everyone is truly working towards the same goal of winning a championship. That’s why I encourage companies to create a “Championship Game Vision” and define in real quantifiable, measurable terms a destination employees can contribute to and participate in the rewards of its achievement. So the question I always ask is “What is your company’s “World Series,” or “Super Bowl” that gets everyone wanting to get there?”

    If the systems are set up properly and articulated in the right way it works. And, it gives business owners ways to measure if people have the ability, attitude and aptitude to help get there. If not, the loyalty of the company is to provide the employee the opportunity to find someplace they can be a better contributor to.

    Thanks, again, for your mind comments and contribution here.

  6. Lisa says:


    Organizational Change Management is my passion (you and I traded messages a while back about my efforts to get into this as a profession – thanks for being so personally responsive, by the way!). I love your response above as much as your entire post. I’m in talks about an imminent job change that would also carry me outside of my organization (very exciting) into a role where I can have this type of influence. I am going to have to truly study up and drive your Championship Game Vision there!!! Since I’m a huge baseball fan (as is the Senior VP), I should be there just in time to equate it to the MLB post-season and World Series.

    My current organization talks reverently about driving for the ‘one goal, one mission’….but does little to set up the rank and file to get on board. Plus, we’ve heard it so many times before, those of us with tenure are pretty much over it and figure it really just boils down to the bottom line – and the ‘quick hits’ to get there.

  7. Skip Weisman says:

    Yes, now I remember you and that exchange. I’m pleased you’re on the path to a truly inspirational role where you can influence and make a difference with people to “get it.”
    Keep in touch and let me know how it evolves and how I may be able to help you in that new role as I’m working on developing a whole system to help companies fulfill this approach.

  8. Lisa says:

    I will surely keep you posted. I’d love to work with you in the future to integrate your methods into whatever organization I find myself.

  9. Gunnar says:

    Important topic to cover. I am looking forward to your posting. Hope you will address the topic not only in the context of small businesses. Performance management in Enterprise businesses seems to be a much different beast based on my experience as HR policies are elaborate and very hard to navigate.

  10. Skip Weisman says:


    Thanks for your comments and suggestions here. You make a valid point and I appreciate you bringing it up. Small businesses are obviously a little more nimble and can implement the five strategies I’ll write about next week easier than a large enterprise. Often, HR is focused on CYA, compliance and legal ramifications which bog done the process.

    That said, if you implement some of what I suggest at your level in an enterprise system, it will do two things. One help you be clear on what your performance expectations are for the individuals on your team, and will provide a documented process of moving the individual from where they are at present, to where they need to be. If that evolution doesn’t occur, you should have the documentation to fulfill HRs concerns and make your case at the appropriate time. Granted it can be a little more complicated and I’m happy to offer suggestions if you want to take ’em to HR and see how they respond.

    Thanks for being inspired to comment here and add value to the discussion. Please come back again.

  11. Marlene A.Sassaman says:

    The idea of trading players, workers, and those in our personal lives has value. It is consistent with the gambler’s mantra, “No when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” On a personal level your business communication ideas continue to be transferrable to one’s personal relationships outside the workplace. These relationships include family members, friends, and acquaintances.
    Thanks, for keeping me on your list.

  12. Srinivas Kolluru says:

    We have long forgotten about finding out the reasons behind the workplace ‘ills’ you have listed. Organizations find the resources very disposable today because there are ample of them.

    Tolerating bad performance is a bane to all businesses and society at large. But finding out the reasons for the bad performance is literally nonexistent in current business environment. All the so called HR practices are gone. Very few organizations have time for ‘HR’ related activities. At best what happens is probably office parties.

    I think the American businesses lost their HR development edge because they are too busy in short term goals and convincing the so called investors about business viability.

    Except for some companies like Google or some start up tech companies, for others human resources are like warm bodies, as disposable as a worn out shaving razor.

    So, Skip, I do not think all is correct with the assumption that firing resources as a first step. We need to look at whether as a business we are doing everything correctly.

    The drawback I see with your theory below is that it make the intrinsic assumption that the organization does everything correctly. In my experience, of late, everyone is too busy aggrandizing themselves and do not really care about the ‘organization’. It is more of – I survive first, then the organization survives (so that I do not lose my net worth) and then I will think about other stake holders.

    Under the garb of competition, effectiveness and because of lack of patience to manage resources, we happily agree to the fact – ‘Organization is always correct and if it is wrong please see the earlier part of this statement’.

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