October 19, 2010: My husband and I are big baseball fans (my husband is stat and player focused, I just love the game). We spent our birthdays one year stuffed on a bus with 30 other folks hitting five stadiums in six days that took us from Pittsburgh to Toronto with a few stops in between. Our goal is to see games in all 30 stadiums. We have 11 down and 19 more to go. He prefers the NY Yankees and I am a Boston Red Sox fan. (Yes we have heard a million times “well I’m sure that makes for an interesting marriage”…and yes, it does.)
As the baseball season ends and we head into the playoffs I just finished an interesting book that relates how companies can learn to win from a “cursed” team’s errors. For baseball fans you know that team is the Chicago Cubs. John Charles Kunich, co-author of “Cubs Fans’ Leadership Secrets” hits on a few of the cursed highlights and how to take the lessons and apply them to creating and growing strong, healthy companies. One of my favorites is the Cubs refusing to allow night baseball at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were the last team in the major league to put up lights so the game could be played at dark. They held out till 1988. As Kunich writes, “Some critics have suggested that the long delay in adding lights had more to do with penny-pinching than tradition-hugging on the part of the team owners. There may be elements of truth to both views.” He continues, “The lights-out crusade became emblematic of the Cubs emphasis, or over-emphasis, on their glorious past and their gorgeous, venerable, green cathedral of baseball.”
This had me thinking about how many companies settle on the reason of not trying something or taking a risk because tradition or “the way we’ve always done it” gets in the way. How many of you work for or have worked for companies that fail to realize their true potential – in the Cubs’ situation a financial potential – because they don’t embrace taking risks or bucking tradition. If there is one upside to the recession it is forcing companies to realize they can’t do what they have always done and get the to next level or even survive the next couple of years.
What are your thoughts? The first two people to leave a meaningful comment about companies taking or not taking risks or embracing change will win a free, autographed copy of Kunich’s book “Cubs Fans’ Leadership Secrets.” Once you leave your comment please email me at email@example.com with your name and shipping address. *I reserve the right to deny any winner that claims to be a Yankee fan. Just kidding. But I do reserve the right to determine if your comment is meaningful and worthy of the book prize.