For a model to build a championship small business company culture look no further than the Chicago Cubs.
Between 2011 through 2014, the Cubs lost more than 60% of their games.
In 2015 and 2016 the Cubs won more than 60% of their games; winning the franchise’s first World Series Championship in 108 years.
The championship ended the longest non-championship streak in the history of professional sports in North America, and maybe the entire world.
You can take the exact path to championship performance.
The Cubs’ transformation started with the design of the company culture.
Theo Epstein, who became the youngest general manager in Major League Baseball history in 2002 when we took over the Boston Red Sox at the age of 28, orchestrated the Cubs’ organizational transformation.
Epstein led the Red Sox’ to end their championship drought after a measly 86 years when they won the 2004 World Series.
In both instances Epstein created championship performance on the baseball diamond by first designing a championship culture.
Upon being hired by the Cubs he created a culture manifesto called “The Cubs Way.”
It defined the culture, focusing on three objectives:
- Winning the World Series
- Being a “good neighbor”
- Preserving Wrigley Field (their historic, aging, cathedral of a stadium)1
To achieve those objectives he first put in place criteria for recruiting personnel based on personal character.
One of the key character traits that required a deep assessment was resiliency and response to adversity.
Those are important because the best baseball players fail 70% of the time, and for sales personnel the rejection rate is even worse.
Secondly Epstein established a system around specific performance accountabilities that was the same for the athletes and the administrative staff.
All of those components, plus a commitment to a highly transparent approach to communication2 led to a high-trust culture allowing for a very positive and resilient culture.
The Results: Almost 5 years to the day Epstein was hired, the Cubs won their first championship in 108 years.
It took three years for the culture change to begin paying dividends.
Today, the Cubs are recognized as the best team in baseball and favored to win again.
The lesson here for every small business owner is:
- to start with character in building your team and
- build the team with clear performance goals, accountability to them, and
- provide consistent feedback for coaching and development.
In 2007 I created my own manifesto to help small business owners create championship performance in companies.
It’s called The 3 Strategies of Championship Organizations and creates the foundation Your Small Business Championship Game Plan. If you’d like a free copy, click here.
‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!