Continuing with our series The TalentCulture Corner Office, Cyndy Trivella, Events Manager with TalentCulture, spoke with former New York Yankee, turned entrepreneur, Patrick Antrim. In this third installment, she chatted with Patrick about leadership, business, teamwork and how being a former athlete has helped him succeed as an entrepreneur. As with former interviews in this series, the discussion centers on the perspective and experience of someone who has made the move to the “corner office.”
Cyndy: As a serious sports fan, it was my great pleasure to speak with Patrick Antrim. Patrick has a big background. He’s a former athlete, investment portfolio manager, real estate mogul, author, speaker, and leadership coach.
Cyndy: Patrick, I’m sure our readership is curious about your background. Tell us about what you learned from your time as a baseball player with The New York Yankees that you’re able to tap into as an entrepreneur?
Patrick: Well, it was an honor to observe daily improvisations and contribute to the traditions of the iconic New York Yankee brand. I say honor because it was no luck. My experience was mostly a daily celebration of the hard work and sacrifice I placed into my career dating back to being 5 years old. Having said that, I learned about approaching your work with class, professionalism and excellence. How would you approach your work if thousands of people showed up to watch you do your work, then reported on it in the media? You see, I learned that your job is a performance. You have to win for yourself first so you can win for your teams. In professional baseball, you perform first at the level you play and then you’re asked to contribute at the next level. It’s all performance, no application. As an entrepreneur or leader, if people focused on reaching their own potential first with the approach of it being a performance, someone would take notice and offer them a better opportunity, or as in my case, it was investor capital.
Cyndy: That is an excellent point. If everyone went to work knowing that s/he was being publically scrutinized, it could affect the way people conduct themselves in the workplace. Let’s talk about a topic near and dear to you… leadership. Tell us what leadership practices companies can mirror from modern-day sports?
Patrick: This is a great question, and I get asked this a lot. All companies, including sports teams, are nothing more than a collection of people. A winning sports team is defined by their ability to scout great talent, recruit them, and get them performing for a winning tradition. Their record is an outcome of how well they do this. I think companies try to make people happy, save people, or keep them comfortable. I believe people want to win. Sports teams are known to have depth and are not afraid to make tough choices in player trades. If the team is not right, they prune until they get it right. They stay focused on future years and are okay with “rebuilding years” as their approach is long term. Entrepreneurs need to think long term and this is sometimes more difficult for leaders, as they often times, are held accountable to short-term cycles like shareholder returns.
Cyndy: I agree with that and further believe this is why so many large companies struggle with innovation. The short-term cycle can refocus their attention. So, Patrick you talked briefly about how entrepreneurs and leaders need to focus more on their own potential. As a successful entrepreneur, what additional advice can you offer to people interested in business ownership?
Patrick: Learn to love. First, have the courage to love yourself enough so that you reach your own potential. Love your company enough to say “no” to decisions that will take you off course… distractions. The reason I use the word love is, I want your listeners to sit up a bit. I mean, love doesn’t judge. Love doesn’t rush. Love doesn’t criticize; love your company like your children. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love brings people together and that’s what leadership is all about. Love them enough to grow them, invest in them, and develop them so that they win. When employees win for themselves, they win for our customers and that’s a win for me. We must believe in who we are and the impact we make so, much, that our setbacks, doubters, haters, or the toxic people that might come near our dreams never have the power to break us down.
Cyndy: Wow, this is very powerful advice! People need to ignore the road noise and stay the course. This brings to mind the sports analogy… just keep your eye on the ball. And speaking of the ball, what is your fondest memory as an athlete?
Patrick: This is a tough question believe it or not. I can think back and visualize my early days when my now late Grandma and Grandpa used to watch my games. I tear up telling that story to my boys. But something more profound, I think, was when I retired back in 1998 from the Yankees, and was later inducted into the College Hall of Fame from my alma mater. I remember sitting there thinking about how so few years had changed my life, and about that one moment when I almost quit. I would have missed it all. And to top it off, the Hon. George Argyros to whom I was an apprentice at the time, sent me a wonderful handwritten congratulatory note. I never told anyone about the Hall of Fame Induction, kind of a “Yankee Way” sort of thing, but he took the time to value my award and that still serves me to this day.
Cyndy: That’s a nice story Patrick; thank you for chatting with me. I appreciate hearing how you took the skills and discipline from your days as an athlete and continue to use those today as a successful entrepreneur.
Patrick: Thanks. I love talking about athletics, entrepreneurship, leadership and how companies can learn a lot from what happens in the business of sports.