Forget the NFL playoffs. Let's talk baseball. When the Boston Red Sox begin the 2012 baseball season, outspoken manager Bobby Valentine (a.k.a. “Bobby V”) will be at the helm. Back in October, I wrote an article about how the Red Sox’s historic 2011 season-end collapse, fueled in part by certain players indulging in fried chicken and beer during games, could provide cautionary lessons to MSPs serving SMB clients. Today, I’m going to offer a more optimistic set of three positive lessons MSPs can learn from the example of Bobby V.

Those lessons include...

1. Go Where The Work Is. This lesson may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s one that far too many people, whether their line of work is baseball, managed services or anything else, fail to follow. Bobby V started his career as a promising minor league ballplayer, but he only enjoyed a relatively brief stint as a backup player in the major leagues due to injuries. Rather than sit and curse his bad luck, Bobby V instead launched a managing career that included stops in Texas and New York, as well as tenures with two different teams in Japan. When the managerial work dried up, Bobby V became a TV baseball analyst  and even served as public safety director of Stamford, CT.

The next time you don’t want to serve a client because they are too small, too far away, require too much attention, or any other excuse you can come up with, remember Bobby V. Work rarely comes to you, you usually have to go to it, convenient or not.

2. Take on Tough Challenges. Boston is a notoriously fickle and passionate sports town where the line between being loved and hated by fans is as thin as a single win or loss. Add in a relentless local media, a clubhouse filled with many players known for having poor attitudes, and ownership that could be politely termed “actively involved,” and being the manager of the Boston Red Sox becomes what is probably the most challenging managerial job in baseball. But like most tough challenges, it also offers a large potential reward, financial and otherwise.

Similarly, the toughest managed services clients, like those requiring massive systems overhauls or wholesale training of the workforce, also offer large potential rewards. In addition to often being the most lucrative, successfully serving difficult clients can greatly boost an MSP’s market reputation and stature and help land future clients who maybe won’t be quite so difficult.

3. Promote Yourself. Nobody has ever accused Bobby V of being shy or having a small ego. He takes credit for numerous achievements, including non-baseball accomplishments such as supposedly inventing the wrap sandwich, and is noted for thriving on media attention. MSPs also need to publicly take credit where it is due (I won’t speculate on the veracity of the wrap sandwich claim), and court attention from trade media and any other potential sources of free publicity.

MSPs are not likely to show up in the pages of “Sports Illustrated” anytime soon, but a flattering online article can do just as much for an MSP as a “Sports Illustrated” profile can do for Bobby V.