I am cheering for the Cubs to win the World Series. And it’s not because they haven’t won a Series in 108 years. It’s not because many of my friends and my whole family are life long Cubs fans (as was I until I moved to St. Louis.) It’s not because I have anything against the Indians.
I am rooting for the Cubs because I love it when the non-sexy, behind the scenes grunt work of building an infrastructure and crafting a culture pays off in a big way. And that is what has happened with this organization.
After assembling his cabinet, General Manager Theo Epstein started with a 4-day meeting of 150 scouts, coaches and minor league staff. He knew that he had to build the organization from the ground up and impart his vision of what the Cubs of the future could be. That was four years ago.
Since then the club has addressed almost every aspect of the organization. They added 77 new positions (but still have the smallest front office in baseball.) They invested $6 million in technology so they could modernize operations and rely more on statistical measures. They built new facilities for the farm team, for scouting in the Dominican Republic and for offices in Chicago. They spent $750 million to upgrade the neighborhood around Wrigley and make substantial improvements to the park itself. The Cubs renegotiated broadcasting contracts and worked with the Disney Institute to improve customer service.
Oh, and they acquired a manager and made player trades that favored a new infusion
of energy and those who wanted to play in the culture they were trying to create. They modeled in the minors the culture they wanted in the Big Show, that of “playing loose and with confidence.”
The Cubs honestly communicated the long term plan with their fans to align expectations. The owners acknowledged that the team would become worse before they became better. They were right.
Yes, I am cheering for the Cubs — and for all other organizations who do the work off the field to enjoy success on it. Learn from them so your organization can fly its own W flag too.