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We’re all Cardinals fans at Caledon Virtual, save for a lone holdout. He’s relentlessly loyal…we’ll give him that. Here’s Matt LaCasse.

For all of my 36 years of life on this planet, I’ve been a fan of the Chicago Cubs. Aside from a couple of bright spots, it’s been relatively bleak. In November of 2011, the Cubs hired former Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein to become president of baseball operations. He in turn hired some of the brightest up and coming minds to help solve the 108-year long frustration of the Cubs. Based on Epstein’s hiring, and who the Cubs have drafted since that time, I think there are some interesting lessons to be learned. Even if you’re a Cardinals fan.

  1. Know Your Identity

    • When engineering the reconstruction of the Cubs, Epstein and his team identified a type of player they wanted. Guys who are patient at the plate and make contact. As a result, they have drafted the best college hitter available the last 3 years. If you follow baseball, you might have heard of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. Figure out the type of employee you want and go get them. Regardless of where they might fit into a traditional organizational structure. They’ll carve out a niche for themselves and your organization will benefit.
  2. Patience

    • Epstein knew his plan would take several years to bear fruit. From the day he was hired he preached patience to the fans and media. When you make a new hire, don’t expect that hire to perform miracles on their first day. Or even in the first year. It takes time and patience to build a team and for that team to come together and become the powerhouse you envision.
  3. Take (Calculated) Risks

    • By all accounts, Rick Renteria did a fine job of managing the 2014 Chicago Cubs. It was a young team with some veteran talent, but the goal was the continued development of the young players. Nothing that happened in that season indicated Renteria would be somewhere else when spring of 2015 rolled around. Then, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon (regarded as one of the best managers in the game) suddenly became available. The Cubs fired Renteria and went after Maddon. It was a risk to do that, but it’s paid off so far as the Cubs (as of this writing) sit 21 games above the .500 mark and are positioned to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Risk is necessary when you’re hiring someone, but you shouldn’t gamble. Look at your candidate’s previous record and experience and let it tell the tale of what they’re capable of doing. Need someone that handles pressure really well and develops young baseball talent? Joe Maddon is your guy. Need someone to develop a young sales staff? That’s Nelly. And she’s available for consultation services.

The overall theme here is simple. Have a plan, stick to it, and be ready for opportunities that present themselves at a moment’s notice.

Image: David Wilson via Flickr