Well they did it… the Cubs made it into the World Series for the first time since 1945! This really is a pretty neat achievement, and even if you don’t follow or even cheer on the Cubs, one would still have to admire what they have accomplished this year. And no doubt, this can be attributed to the value of teamwork.
As a team, they are actually quite young. In many ways this has been a good thing in that the players really did not have all the baggage associated with losing over the years – rather they came in to play the game with passion, once given the opportunity to make it in the big league. There are also a number of much more experienced veterans that were signed on to bring immediate results, as well as to mentor the younger players. Together, and with genuine inspiration and leadership from a truly motivational manager in Joe Maddon, this team came together and succeeded in having the best record of any team in the major leagues!
To succeed in business, we can learn much from the Cubs and what they have achieved so far this year. It really is about the team, and not the individuals. It is critical to have a blend of both young and more experienced people – but only if the veterans are willing to teach all that they have learned to the new members. I have often said that in order to advance in an organization, it is important to literally share all that you know with others, so that ultimately they can replace you at some point – and to not be feared of this. Teamwork is also about being able to help pick up others when they are struggling. Just like some ball players will inevitably go through a hitting slump, it is those that you least expect to then jump in and get the job done. In fact, this responsibility is not given, rather one needs to take on responsibility – and when this happens, the performance of the whole team is enhanced.
Just because you have a great season though, does not insure that you will win it all. The Cubs found this out last year after winning their way into the playoffs, but then losing to the Mets. This year they have taken themselves to the next level by winning 2 post season series and advancing to the big one. Likewise in business, just because you have a strong few months or even a successful and profitable year, this does not mean that the next year will be the same. We must always keep pushing and keep the desire to succeed in everyone’s mindset. This can be a real challenge, and one that ultimately falls in the hands of the owner or leader – just like it does for Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein.
As we get set to see if the Cubs can go all the way and actually win the World Series for the first time in 108 years, it is a real testament to the value of teamwork that has brought them this far. All of us in business can learn much from their success.