Building a Championship: Team Team-building tips from the World Series Champs

Building a Championship Team
Team-building tips from the World Series Champs
By: Mike McDonough
Baseball season is back in full swing, and as a Chicagoan I know a lot of Cubs fans are still celebrating winning their first World Series Championship since 1908. It took a long time to build the team that won it all, but with a few simple tips you’ll have a winning roster that won’t take 108 years to assemble. Here are just a few of the team-building takeaways we can learn from baseball and the World Champion Chicago Cubs.
Build a balanced roster
It’s important to have a team whose skills compliment and balance each other. The Cubs General Manager, Theo Epstein, put together players with speed, power, on-base capabilities and defensive prowess to build his curse-breaking roster. You should have a mixture of quick workers, detail-oriented professionals, creative thinkers and workhorses to make sure you’re prepared for any situation. If a quick-turnaround project arises, you can put your faster employees on it. If a job comes through with lots of regulations and fine print, you have a focused group that you know won’t miss a comma. All of these different personality and skill sets will help your company be ready for any curveball that may come your way.
Mix veterans and rookies
The Cubs had a dynamic catching duo last year that took their pitching staff all the way through game seven of the World Series. This combination was 39-year old David Ross and 24-year old Wilson Contreras. Ross was on the last year of a long and storied career, and Contreras in his first year with a major league team. Just as Ross provided experience and Contreras supplied energy, your veterans and rookies would also offer a variety of different benefits for your company. Older employees are excellent mentors; they’ll pass along knowledge, inside tips and company history to your younger talent. Younger employees bring passion, new ideas and a fresh perspective to your organization. When you combine these two groups, you’ll have a dynamic that can bring home championship results.
Identify and train young talent
Kris Bryant, the reining NL MVP, was a first round draft pick by the Cubs in 2013. They traded for All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo when he was a Triple A player batting .143 with the San Diego Padres. Combine these two with other players developed by the Cubs like Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Javier Baez and you can see why finding an developing young talent can lead to long-term sustained success from your organization. In the business world, no one really offers the type of training that used to be the norm. Businesses rely on recruiting established talent away from other organization and pay handsomely for it. By identifying young professionals with potential and providing them training and development opportunities, you can avoid those high-dollar free agent signings in the future.
Market the team you have
To get to where they are today, the Cubs went through a very frustrating, multi-year slump while they were drafting and trading for all of the talent that currently fills the roster. It was hard for fans to watch some of those 90+ loss teams as they built for the future. But they kept their supporters informed of the rebuild plan and never made any illusions that it was “their year” when they didn’t have the players to compete. That honesty set realistic expectations and gave the fans something to look forward too, even when the on-field product wasn’t stellar. In a similar fashion, your underwriting and marketing team should be in-sync to make sure clients have attainable standards. If you’re marketing your speed and efficiency, you need to have a team that will deliver fast. If you speak to your client service, it needs to stand out in the industry. Setting realistic expectations will leave clients and customers with a positive experience that will keep them coming through the turnstiles.
America pastime has put together a few great teams through the years. From the Yankees dynasty to the Giants even-year magic and the Chicago Cubs curse-breakers, it takes planning, perseverance and patience to build an organization that will be in consistent championship form. But with a good balance of skills, ages, training and marketing, you can create a group that will deliver the highest-caliber performance. Take a page from the Chicago Cubs book and start building your contender today.

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