There is a commercial for Fruit of the Loom. You may have seen it. The commercial features the front office/grounds crew, of what appears to be a Minor League Baseball team, pulling the tarp on-field. The tarpaulin, in case you don’t know, is the giant plastic thing that covers a baseball field when it’s raining.
I am particularly delighted with the commercial. As a front office executive of a Minor League Baseball team, pulling the tarp is one of my responsibilities. Seriously. It’s there in my job description along with other duties such as create & drive revenue, enhance guest satisfaction, fill up the park on game nights. Pulling tarp is a muddy, wet, exhausting, frustrating, and thankless task. Every company should have a tarp.
Every company, every organization, should have a tarp. And everyone in the company, everyone in the organization, should have to pull the tarp. Figuratively speaking, of course. A tarp on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange would likely wreak havoc with the DOW. But the idea of every last person, from the top-level executives to the ground-level interns, working on a dirty, physical task, shoulder to shoulder, just makes sense.
Pulling the tarp onto the field, while dodging rain drops the size of nickels, in front of a crowd of wet, disappointed customers, bonds a group of teammates. Co-workers. Individuals. Pulling a tarp off the field, when the sun peaks from behind the clouds, when rainbows appear over the left-field wall, while your customers cheer, bonds an organization with its customers. They jeer, then they cheer. You commiserate, then celebrate, then get back to work. It’s an emotional roller coaster really.
And when the tarp gets away? That’s a story you’ll tell for years to come.
What is the tarp in your office, your organization? Who is helping to pull the tarp?
Mike Abramson is the Assistant General Manager for the Hartford Yard Goats MiLB team, Double-A Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. You can follow him on Twitter at @YardGoatsAGM.