The first is a confession—when I saw the agenda and noticed that Tom Ricketts, the Chicago Cubs Owner, was on the agenda to speak for an hour, I immediately asked myself why? What can he share with IT professionals about technology? In essence, I was judging a book by its cover. Not very long into his short 60 minute presentation, I realized I judged incorrectly – by far his presentation was the best. He shared his 5 strategies in rejuvenating and restoring the Chicago Cubs organization to a winning first rate organization—many of which are the very same strategies that I have been instilling in our organization. I also learned a few others that I want to share with you and I think you’ll see very quickly how these translate to our organization.
1. Know the Business – Ricketts shared the first thing he did was to better understand the baseball business– he did this by studying not only his ball club but other organizations with winning traditions as well. How does this translate to our business?
In order to serve your team, you must first know what business you are in. This is the reason we stress “feet to street” and getting to know the business in order to provide technical solutions that are value add to the business.
2. It is always about the team – Ricketts emphasized that you must have the right leadership team to move the team forward. His method was to hire the very best after several independent discussions with trusted associates. He talked about getting to know the players at all levels and developing the right people on the team who are equipped to take the team to the next level. If there is not alignment around the culture and the vision – the fit just isn’t right. This he says is vital. How does this translate to our business?
To achieve your goals with your teammates, there must be a common belief in the vision.
3. The Ballpark is your Palace – to achieve your vision the atmosphere must be conducive for winning. Ricketts indicated that he knew a culture change was needed. This involved to investing in the infrastructure (Wrigley Field) for its fans and also investing in its players—again to reflect a winning atmosphere. This is an area of keen interest to me because setting the atmosphere/environment is not just about physical updates but also about a change in the way ISS leaders treat their employees to make them feel part of a winning team. How does this translate to our business?
Our ISS Leadership team must buy into the vision and treat the team in accordance to the ISS Leadership Principles. The vision and concepts must be repeated and reviewed periodically.
4. Broadcast – Ricketts talked about how broadcasting games on different networks makes a significant difference to sponsorship and fan loyalty. In the IT business making sure we market our services, policies and procedures are key to our business partners becoming better collaborative partners. How does this translate to our business?
Broadcasting, socializing and institutionalizing the vision and mission and goals of ISS to our partners is imperative.
5. Round the Bases – Ricketts stressed that it is important not to only focus on winning the world series. In order to win the world series, you must first get into the playoffs. To get into the playoffs, you must first be good at winning your regular season games. Without rounding the bases of the regular season, you don’t stand a chance at getting to the playoffs… let alone a shot at the world series. How does this translate to our business?
Focusing more/only on ‘delivery’ prevents us from keeping sight of ‘how’ we delivery.
We can’t let the end goal be the focus. We must get better at the things that drive us toward the goal.
The team must understand the whys, the hows and the wheres of getting to the goal, otherwise we will not get there effectively, efficiently or timely.
The similarities between a baseball and an IT organization were striking (pun intended). Bottom line, for me, is that no matter what the strategies are, we have to be diligent in the pursuit of the process in order to get to the end goal. The strategies above are working for the IT organization that I serve, and so I gotta believe if the Chicago Cubs stay the course, it could result in the organization winning the World Series soon(last one for the Cubs was in 1908). As Ricketts closed his session, I recorded that my biggest lesson this day was to always Remain Open Minded – doing anything less shunts my opportunity for intellectual growth and potentially blocks my blessings. I’m glad I got over my initial assumptions of Ricketts.
Take Action: What other strategies can you think of in establishing a winning organization? Please share.
Leadership on the GO…..It’s O.N.