What Managers Can Learn From Sports
Rarely a company dominates an industry for more than a few years. This is because time changes both customers and technologies allowing new competitors to rise. The legendary baseball team, The New York Yankees achieved an enviable record of being in the World Series 39 times and winning the championship 26 times since 1921. There are few corporations in the world that have been a dominant force for more than eight decades.
What is the secret of Yankees success and unique track record? Authors Lance A. Berger and Dorothy R. Berger highlight the 14 management principles from the history of the team’s success in their book, Management Wisdom from the New York Yankee’s Dynasty: What Every Manager Can Learn From a Legendary Team’s 80-Year Winning Streak.
These 14 management principles and best practices that made Yankees the power to reckon with in the Baseball world emerged under the leadership of Jacob Ruppert in the 1920s and have been refined by owners and mangers ever since.
You don’t have to be a base ball player or know the baseball game to understand and implement these management principles and institute these best practices into your organization. All you need to have is a keen desire and a strong will to build and develop a sustainable competitive advantage into your organization. Here, then are the 14 management principles to win at the market place and stay victorious!
- Cultivate Ownership Values From the Top Down: Instill a desire to win in all your team members. When all your team members become an integral part of achieving organizational success, they are empowered owners.
- Hire the Best Front-line Managers You Can Find: The first level manager in your organization is responsible for supervising the employees who develop or sell your products. He should possess all the professional, corporate citizenship and leadership competencies with a sense of ownership to help the organization to create and sustain excellence. Hire the best and invest in their continuous development.
- Formally Recognize Your Informal Leaders: In every organization, there are individuals who excel at their jobs, who inspire others and who display behaviors that bring credit to the team. They are first recognized and respected as leaders by their team mates. Formally recognize them and develop an appropriate career path for each of them with milestones and goals clearly defined.
- Set the Bar Higher: People behave as they are measured. To achieve sustainable success in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, you need to set the bar at the highest possible level and make all individual goals subordinate to the organizational goal. It is important to develop specific measures of individual accomplishment to achieve the overarching organizational goal. In the sports context the goal is to put the most competitive team on the field not only to win championships but also to attract and retain the greatest number of fans. In the organizational context, customers are equivalent to fans.
- Organizational Competencies: Competencies must be clearly defined, articulated and embedded throughout your organization.
- Make Everyone on the Team a Talent Scout: Make every member of your team a talent scout for your organization. Scouting should be part of every employee’s citizenship competency.
- Create a Balance: Sustainable success for any organization results from a skillful development and management of teams that reflect a careful blend and balance of a very small number of super stars, several stars and many solid players. Invest adequately in training, developing and maintaining of right pool of talent.
- Establish Your Talent Strategy And Fill in the Gaps: Build a comprehensive inventory of players inside and outside the organization. Identify and retain your super stars and acquire them from competitors if required. Ensure that everyone on the team develops adequate skills and knowledge to stay competitive.
- Create a Solid Farm System: In sports, a farm system is generally a team whose role is to provide experience and training for young players, with an agreement that all successful players can move onto a higher level at any given point. A commitment to continuous training and development and a policy that supports promotions from within go along a way in ensuring a competent talent pool that never dries up.
- Pay Based on Contribution to Organization Success: A competitive team must first allocate adequate resources the required talent. Pay-for-performance keeps the motivation levels high. Remember companies cannot afford to lose, or fail to acquire, stars with super star potential.
- Make the Superstar the Focal Point of Your Organization: A super star is a scarce commodity. Your most important asset. Give them the attention they deserve and protect them as best as you can. Make them the focal point to inspire other stars in the organization.
- Diversify Your Talent Pool: A diversified talent pool provides a variety of thoughts and emotions emanating from varied cultural experiences and this enables the team members to better share common goals, improve problem solving skills by looking at the problems from different points of view.
- Celebrate Your History, Heroes and Legends: Every organization has a history, values and competencies that set it apart and must be consistently conveyed to and by all levels of employees to develop its own Way.
- Boldly Promote Your Tradition of Excellence: Let your organization embrace its own way of professionalism, citizenship, leadership and accomplishments. When you do this and become an employer of choice, you will have a better chance of attracting and retaining quality talent than your competitors.
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