By Guest Blogger Skip Weisman
You would think that creating a championship culture is easy with athletes making multi-millions of dollars each season.
But, in my experience, it is just as hard creating a championship culture in that environment as it is creating it in a small manufacturing company.
Baseball managers have to deal with players that show up with attitudes, behaviors and performance similar to your employees.
I know that’s hard to believe but they have to deal with athletes with…
- inflated egos,
- an inability to take feedback and coaching,
- closed minds to changing how they are doing things because they’ve had a lot of success doing it their way for a long time, not believing their way will not get their performance to the next level.
- an attitude focusing more on the position they are asked to play, or their playing time, rather than what is best for the team overall.
All of those issues are just like the complaints I hear from the small business owners and CEOs I speak with.
Does any of that sound familiar?
If so, you may want to take an approach like Alex Cora used during this baseball World Series championship season for the Boston Red Sox.
First-year manager Alex Cora created a unique culture among his team and led his team to victory in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Red Sox beat the Dodgers when you consider that in the midst of the team’s playoff run one of Los Angeles’ key players, Manny Muchado, was quoted as saying, “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line, that’s not my personality, it’s not who I am.”
I’m not sure Muchado would have fit with the Red Sox culture that Cora created.
You don’t win a record 108 games during a 162 game season for a .667 winning percentage, among the best in the history of Major League Baseball, as Cora’s Red Sox did in 2018 with players who have that type of “personality.”
Your company, regardless of the industry its in, be it manufacturing, banking, law, accounting, or any other service company with employees with attitudes like that.
Cora’s was a simple approach.
He treated each of his team members like a human being and not an object, that was simply a means to an end goal.
That may seem like an obvious strategy, yet I’ve seen too many business leaders do the latter and not the former. As a matter of fact a recent client, the owner of a 20-employee construction restoration company told me, “Skip the biggest thing I’ve come to realize in my six weeks of working with you is that I’ve been objectifying people. I’ve been seeing my employees solely as objects to help me achieve my goals.”
Here are two examples of Cora’s championship culture building approach:
- After losing Game #3 of the World Series in a record 18-innings over seven hours… “Cora walked into the clubhouse and called everyone together. He looked at each one of them and said he was grateful for their effort and proud to be part of their team.” “It was emotional,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “By the end of it, we felt like we won the game.” (ESPN.com, Tim McKeown, Oct. 29, 2018)
- “Asked whether he ever gets angry with his players — in other words: Is your calm exterior an elaborate lie? — he said, “No, I don’t. I talk to them. If I have something to tell them, I just sit with them. Casual, very casual. I try to have good conversations.” (ESPN.com, Tim McKeown, Oct. 29, 2018)
It’s not rocket science, it’s human science. It all comes down to good championship caliber communication. Which is always prompt, direct, and respectful. It sounds easy, and it’s not. If it were you’d be getting championship performance at your company.
You can create a Championship Company Culture just like Alex Cora did with his Boston Red Sox. All you need is your own game plan and a commitment to championship caliber communication.
Easier said than done, I know. A good place to start is simply looking at your company work environment as if it were an athletic team. If it were, which of the four categories would you place it in:
In 2017 the Red Sox were a playoff team. They lost in the first round of the playoffs. They changed managers.
The new manager changed the culture and became a champion.
Are you the manager who can create your own championship company culture that will achieve high-performance results like Alex Cora?
If so, where would you start?
Here are two questions you can use to evaluate the best place to start:
- What is happening in your workplace that MUST stop happening?
- What is NOT happening in your workplace that MUST start happening?
Your answers will identify things you’ve been tolerating in your work environment that have been preventing your team members from doing an even better job. Start cleaning up those and you’ll be on your way to creating your championship company culture like Alex Cora and the Red Sox.
About the Author:
Skip Weisman is a professional keynote speaker, author, business coach and consultant working with business owners, CEOs, executive teams, and non-profit organization leaders, PLUS their employees to create Championship Company Cultures.
Skip served as President & CEO of the Hudson Valley Renegades between 1994-2001 and was instrumental in relocating the Renegades from Erie, Pennsylvania bringing professional baseball to the region in 1994.
Skip served as CEO of 5 baseball franchises beginning at age 26. Skip’s teams were affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Ray, and Texas Rangers. Over his last eight years in baseball
Skip has been with small businesses since baseball in 2002 and has worked with members of the Council of Industry and others in the manufacturing, insurance, banking, accounting and other technical business services companies, including Micromold Products, Inc., Empire State Bank, Hudson-Greene Federal Credit Union, Ulster Insurance, and RBT CPAs.