This year’s remarkable World Series match up shows us that it is possible to turn around your team. No matter how toxic the history, it is possible to let go of your team’s old story and embrace a new one.
If you are coping with a team that needs a turnaround, study these important lessons from the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs. Both struggled through decades of losing (the Indians last went to the World Series in 1948, the Cubs in 1908).
Here’s how your team can benefit from their example.
1. A turnaround team doubles down. The Indians succeeded despite the loss of their great outfielder to surgery, the rejection of a great catcher who refused to be traded to them, and injuries to two of their best players. “This team’s been resilient from the start,” general manager Mike Chernoff said. “Nobody built up the anxiety or built up the expectations. Guys just stepped in and took advantage of the opportunities.”
2. A turnaround team realizes that all teams face obstacles. Former Cub Doug Glanville points out that everyone deals with some kind of baggage, historical or otherwise: “Life and loss, yet still with a chance at rebirth, redemption, honor,” he says. “Our pain … has ripened, helping us all reinterpret the events that led to this point. History has been rewritten, or maybe we’ve just been patient enough to let history become our present.”
3. A turnaround team figures out how not to lose control. Bad things happen; but your team doesn’t have to make things worse. There’s even a stat for this in baseball, called cluster luck, which both teams were ranked above the median major league teams for their ability to cluster hits to score runs and to scatter opponents’ hits so they couldn’t score. (In pro football, this is called toxic differential; it measures a team’s ability to make big plays and keep their opponents from doing the same.)
4. A turnaround team believes in each other and themselves, and their belief anchors them in the present moment. “As soon as I came in, I felt the chemistry,” said Coco Crisp, who joined the Indians during the summer. “Everybody loves each other. It’s almost like a family. These guys grind and they believe they’re going to get it done.”
5. A turnaround team finds a common focus. For the Cubs, the rally cry was “Win the Inning!” It was all about respecting history but choosing to be in the present tense.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
A toxic history can make a team stuck in old habits. But it is possible to shift to a new story! These remarkable baseball teams overcame a combined 174 seasons of falling short to finally meet this year in the World Series. Can you adopt one of their go-to habits to start rewriting your story? I’m excited to hear how your team is making that shift. It’s everything!
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her e-learning courses spark both personal growth for individuals and corporate development for organizations. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.