Friday, October 31, 2008
Normally, I wouldn’t use the predictable ruse of a World Series trophy to send accolades at one of Baseball’s giants – I like being out of step too much.
But this year’s World Series Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, had at their helm one of the game’s great management figures, the repeatedly successful (and humble) Pat Gillick, as general manager, and Gillick has five great lessons for managers in fields Beyond Baseball, lessons that are too critical to ignore.LESSON #1 – YOU HAVE TO WORK TO WIN NOW AND TO WIN IN THE FUTURE
LESSON #2 – THERE'S ALWAYS SOME WORK THAT CAN ADVANCE YOUR CAUSE
As revealed in today’s USA Today story by Bob Nightengale:
- “The Philadelphia Phillies' front office sat for three hours Wednesday poring over player reports and discussing potential trades and acquisitions.
Team president Dave Montgomery poked his head into the room, and according to big-league scouting director Gordon Lakey, couldn't believe what he was seeing. "We're playing Game 5 of the World Series tonight, aren't we?" Montgomery said.
The Phillies were just hours away from winning the World Series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, but general manager Pat Gillick already was trying to duplicate a championship before winning the first.”
More unusually (well, outside Baseball, anyway), he’s not resting on his laurels. On a work day preceding a World Series game-let, he’s not in a luxury box rubbing shoulders with season ticket holders so he can listen to them fawn over him. He’s huddled with his team working to improve potential for the inevitable, next struggle. There’s ALWAYS some useful work to be done, and whatever you’re taking care of now is something you don’t have to waste cycles on when the important+urgent issues come up later, leaving you more energy and focus to concentrate on the actions that matter most.LESSON #3 – SHORT TIMERS ARE NO TIMERS
The next paragraph of the USA Today piece:
- "We're in the middle of the World Series," says Lakey, who has worked 19 years for Gillick, "and Pat's planning for next year. You would never know he was going to retire."
Gillick, 71, had his last day on the job Thursday; he'll be replaced by Ruben Amaro Jr. today. Had Gillick sat back last winter and savored the Phillies' first postseason in 14 years, they wouldn't be riding in Friday's victory parade.
Pat Gillick knows that (outside of the military) there’s no excuse to act like a short-timer, even if you are. Last impressions are a lot like first impressions; disproportionately remembered. That can be useful on your next gig (or not). And while Gillick is retiring, it doesn’t hurt to be classy. Which brings me to…LESSON #4 – IN A WORLD GENERALLY RUN BY SELF-PROMOTERS, THE HUMBLE STAND TO EKE OUT MORE WINS
After a long and very productive career (built the team that won two titles in Toronto, built the Seattle team that had the best winning percentage of any team this millennium) Gillick was hired for the 2006 season to get the Phillies competitive. His predecessor, the widely-reviled Ed Wade, had assembled much of the young talent that danced on the field with the title this week. And, given how much people in Philly talked trash about him, it would have been no effort at all for Gillick to have taken full credit. Of course, he didn’t. About Ed Wade, he said in The National Post:
- "He put together a lot of this team. Three-quarters of our infield, Cole Hamels, Pat Burrell," Gillick said after his team won the National League Championship Series in Los Angeles a week ago.
"I kind of filled in around what Ed had in place. A lot of credit should go to Ed Wade and his group because they did a tremendous job getting the nucleus here in Philadelphia."
Saying that, of course, didn’t bring Gillick more wins. That attitude, though, the ability to recognize others’ contributions and transcend one’s own views and immediate self-interest, enhances (significantly) one’s ability to recognize important point of view, and builds one’s ability (immensely) to lead the kinds of groups that come together in competitive organizations.LESSON #5 – WHATEVER DOESN'T MAKE YOU STRONGER, KILLS YOU
Back to the Nightengale:
- “Gillick, 71, had his last day on the job Thursday; he'll be replaced by Ruben Amaro Jr. today. Had Gillick sat back last winter and savored the Phillies' first postseason in 14 years, they wouldn't be riding in Friday's victory parade.
They were the first to act last winter when they traded for closer Brad Lidge at the general managers meetings. Lidge saved 48 consecutive games, and the refurbished bullpen went 90-0 with ninth-inning leads. Geoff Jenkins and Pedro Feliz, free agents signed last winter, produced the biggest hits in the Phillies' World Series clincher.
Gillick accepted the World Series trophy Wednesday, but didn't take the accolades. He stepped quietly off stage.
"Pat says to us, 'Let's do it again next year,' " says Phillies special assistant Charlie Kerfeld, "and we never saw him again the rest of the night."
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