Theo Epstein Shares the ‘Secret’ to the Cubs World Series Victory

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If it wasn’t a done deal after he led the Red Sox to a World Series win over a decade ago, Theo Epstein solidified his place in baseball history by bringing the lowly Cubs to the promised land last season. Clearly, the guy’s something special when it comes to mining success from teams that hadn’t found it, but it’s hard for even the experts to put their finger on what he does that’s so different.

Fortunately, when Theo went to speak at Yale’s Class Day (Epstein’s a Yale alumnus), he shared some of his philosophy and shed some light on how he does the things he does.

He said, via The Athletic:

Early in my career I used to think of players as assets, statistics on a spreadsheet which I could use to project future performance and measure precisely how much they were going to impact our team on the field. I used to think of teams as portfolios, diversified collections of player assets, paid to produce up to their projections to ensure the organization’s success.

My head had been down.

That narrow approach worked for awhile, but it certainly had its limits. I grew and my team-building philosophy grew as well. The truth, as our team proved in Cleveland, is that a player’s character matters. The heartbeat matters. Fears and aspirations matter. The player’s impact on others. matters. The tone he sets, matters. The willingness to connect, matters. Breaking down cliques and overcoming stereotypes, matters. Who you are how you live among others, that all matters.

But when these moments happen, and they will, will you be alone at your locker with your head down, lamenting, divvying up blame? Or will you be shoulder to shoulder your teammates, connected, giving and receiving support?

I’ll tell them not to wait until the rain comes to make this choice, because that can be too late. We weren’t winners that night in Cleveland because we ended up with one more run than the Indians. If Zobrist’s ball had been four inches off the line than that double would’ve been a double play and we would’ve lost the game. That was randomness. Like much of life, it was arbitrary.

We were winners that night in Cleveland because when things went really, really wrong, and then when the rains came, our players already knew each other so well, they could come together. They already trusted each other so much, they could open up and be vulnerable. And they were already so connected, they could lift one another up. We had already won.

If you’d like to watch the words come from the man himself, his speech is here in this video.

I can’t guarantee you’ll find the same success, but it’s a good place to start.

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