business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a terrific interview this morning with Atlanta Braves executive vice president/general manager John Schuerholz, who has helped bring the baseball team to its 14th consecutive appearance in the playoffs.

The subject: How to win…not just in baseball, but in business and in life.


• “I have a goal for this organization, and it's clear. And I have a game plan about how we can reach that goal. Did we have to change some people? Sure. Did we have to alter some programs? Absolutely. But the most important thing was to create a level of confidence and reliability and trust. Honoring each other, respecting each other. So that the rookie-league manager knew we cared for him and relied upon him as much as we did on [Manager] Bobby Cox.”

• “It really turns on one significant principle, and that is surrounding yourself and filling your organization with quality people and providing them with a clear vision, an uncompromising game plan.”

• “One of the key responsibilities we have as general managers is managing change effectively. I think it's true in any business. We exist in an environment where change occurs in a bizarre fashion at a bizarre pace. We have to keep our antennas up and keep our minds open. We have to understand that change is inevitable, especially in our business, where we rely on human beings to perform physically, and we have to be able to manage the changes that are required in an effective manner.”
KC's View:
First off, we have to be honest.

We hate the Braves. Have to. Because they absolutely own the Mets.

That said, we have profound respect for what they have achieved.

Schuerholz clearly understands that in his business, people are assets, not costs or liabilities, and have to be treated that way. Some would argue that this is a mandatory attitude in baseball…but we think it must be applied to every enterprise.

If people don’t feel ownership in the business that employs them, and feel connected to the overall vision, then there is no way the business can succeed.

When you look at all the emails we’ve gotten about companies like Albertsons and Winn-Dixie, and how many people who work for those companies feel absolutely disconnected from management, you realize very quickly why those companies are troubled.