If you liked the book Moneyball, I highly recommend The Cubs Way, published earlier this year by Tom Verducci. It tells the story of last year’s world champion Chicago Cubs, including one of the best descriptions of Game Seven of the World Series (a contender for best baseball game ever played) and also a deep analysis into how the team was built in the first place.
Theo Epstein famously helped the Red Sox break a similar century-plus championship drought 13 years ago before joining the Cubs front office five years ago. With the consent and patience of a new owner (himself a lifelong Cubs fan) Epstein proceeded to completely remake not just the Cubs roster but the organization and its culture.
Epstein still used vast amounts of data as he did with the Red Sox, as most teams do now, and how Billy Beane did for the Oakland Athletics as memorialized in Moneyball. But in building the Cubs into a champion, he knew statistics and baseball skill wasn’t going to be enough.
If there’s a single word that describes The Cubs Way, it’s makeup. In other words, character. In evaluating trade prospects, free agents and draft picks, Epstein prioritized players who exhibited great values, great resilience, small egos, a team mentality.
It was a great lesson and reminder for anyone building a team – professional baseball, marketing, sales or otherwise. You can have the best technical marketers in the world, but will they motivate others on your team to follow?
Are you willing to keep a sales rep who hits their number but does it the wrong way? Who breaks rules and compromises your values to get there?
Are you selecting and coaching team members who put the greater good ahead of personal accomplishments?
Are you interviewing for makeup? Are you reviewing makeup characteristics, and coaching for them?
Worth thinking about.