Jim Morris Urges Return to Old-School Business

Published: 2016-02-22

Jim Morris doesn’t want his life defined by a highly publicized Major League Baseball career that saw him appear in 21 games over two seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999 and 2000 before seeing his life story adapted into a Disney movie starring Dennis Quaid, “The Rookie,” in 2002.

Although Morris was a media darling because his baseball career started at age 35 after his students at a Texas high school urged him to attend a local Devil Rays tryout, he views that experience as about more than an effective fastball and the ability to change speeds.

“I tried out (for the Devil Rays) because of a promise and I kept my promise,” says Morris, who’ll bring his story to Dallas as a speaker at the 2016 NSCA Business and Leadership Conference.

“I weave my story in and out of it,” says Morris, who says he’s done some variation of his presentation about 60 to 70 times per year since 2002.

Morris was inspired in his approach to life and business by his grandfather, who owned a menswear store and “treated everyone like gold,” he says.

“I want to get back to [the time when people had] good ethics and strong character,” says Morris. “We need to have more face-to-face meetings so you can read people and make a decision about if they’re honest. We used to go the extra mile and fight for people who came into your store. You wanted them to come back and be a customer again.”

Morris, who struck out the first batter he faced in the major leagues (Royce Clayton of the Texas Rangers), wants to see more balance in business between the proliferation of technology and the old-school approach of face-to-face meetings and in-person communication.

He urges business leaders to seek out what he calls “dream-makers,” people who have similar goals to you and will pursue those goals fully and at all times. He brings a sense of humor to his presentations, saying he focuses on some of his “dumb decisions” that kept him from living the life he should have been living when he was younger.

“We put too much importance on the things that aren’t related to what we need in our lives,” says Morris.

Although Morris is certainly a novice when it comes to the intricacies of systems integration, “I like to stick myself out there and talk to smart people,” he says. “I like to learn, like to push myself. After the speeches is when I really have fun because I get to hear what they think about what I said.

“We’ve come so far so fast in this world with technology, but you have to always remember who you are. It’s not about what you do when you know someone’s watching. It’s about what you do when no one’s watching that really defines you and who you are,” says Morris.

Posted in: News

Tagged with: BLC, NSCA

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