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We’d all agree that business success comes from a solid point of differentiation, but continued success comes from nurturing and caring for that special skill. For anyone doubting that, please consider the curious case of Francisco Rodriguez.

Rodriguez - or “K-Rod,” as he is popularly known - is a baseball pitcher known for his ability to pitch the final inning of ballgames. He’s a closer. It’s a skill that pays really, really well. As a right-handed pitcher, you would think that K-Rod would understand that his chief asset is that very hand. K-Rod, like all of us, knows you protect what’s most important to you. When you don’t (think Toyota and product quality…among others), bad things happen.

K-Rod is lucky because he has easy role models every where. Legendary baseball pitcher Tom Seaver used to say he never reached for a scissor, razor or even to pet a dog with his prized right hand. He knew his career was in that hand. Movies give examples too. In Bull Durham, there is this exchange between aging catcher “Crash” Davis and rookie pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh after the younger man has decked Davis in a brawl:

Davis: Did you hit me with your right hand or did you hit me with your left? Huh? Did you hit me with your right hand or did you hit me with your LEFT?

LaLoosh: My left.

Davis: Good! That's good; when you get in a fight with a drunk you don't hit him with your pitching hand. God, I can't keep giving you these free lessons so quit screwin' around and help me up.

K-Rod apparently doesn’t watch movies or study baseball history. Recently he hit his girlfriend’s father with his money hand, a stupid and possibly jail-worthy decision. Now he’s injured, his season is over and his very lucrative contract with the New York Mets is at risk. Simply put, thinking is never overrated.

That’s my Thursday morning Eye-Opener.

- Michael Sansolo
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