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Cubs vs Indians: The Two Underdogs That Came Out on Top and How Your Company Can Too

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In a combined 176 years, the Cubs and Indians have not won the World Series. For years, these teams have been the perpetual underdogs, only emerging from that title as of late.

Use strategies straight from the ball field to turn your company's luck around, and come out on top like these underdogs:

Restructure the Top

The best team starts with the best leadership. In the last few years, the Cubs and Indians hired new management: Terry Francona and Joe Maddon. Both leaders came with an experienced background, successfully managing past titled teams. If your company is struggling, evaluate the management style of leaders, look at the employee feedback/reviews, and analyze what has and hasn’t worked. If your leadership isn't where it should be, consider leadership training or bringing in outside management for new perspectives and ideas.

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Reexamine the Playing Field

The Cubs and Indians reevaluated their teams and started scouting the person, not the player. By 2016, every player from the Cubs' 2011 25-man roster was gone. They filled their teams with players that not only had the skills, but fit in with the team culture, on and off the field. Does your company have low morale? Disengaged employees? Observe the team: find the people that are the culture givers (embody the company’s mission and passion) and fire the culture takers (negative, uninvolved employees). Start interviewing candidates with a culture lens in mind, and don’t hire solely on the hard skills.

 

Build a Trusting Environment

Joe Maddon is known for being upfront and honest with his players. He tells them exactly what he wants and why, without micromanaging. He believes in the “professionalism of the player” and trusts them to be prepared on their own. This should apply for all leaders. Be transparent about what's expected from each employee, while giving them the ability to make their own decisions. Encourage employees to voice their opinions and implement regular meetings to gather any concerns or feedback. Employees who are loyal towards a leader or company are more engaged and committed to the company.

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Get Creative with Budget

Have a small budget? Don’t fear. The Indians have one of the lowest budgets in the league and it hasn’t brought them down! They have used their money wisely to invest in younger, less-expensive talent. Take a hint from the Indians and look at company expenses. Trim out the excess and find new ways to invest, whether it’s a cheap social tool to promote your brand or $5 balloons to celebrate an employee’s birthday or work anniversary.

 

Find Advocates

What's the biggest thing these teams have in common? The support of thousands of die-hard fans, rallying behind the players through the good times and the bad (and there’s been plenty of bad). If your company does not have faithful customers or clientele, it’s going to be hard to grow the business. Focus on your customer care: write personalized notes, create incentives for customers, and recognize your best fans. When there's a bad review, call and ask them how you can do better-- give them a reason to change their opinion! Well-treated customers turn into brand advocates, who cheer and promote the company to their friends and family.

 

Work hard, play hard!

The Cubs and Indians are known for truly enjoying the game… and occasionally having a little fun! This past year, manager Joe Maddon had the Cubs wearing pajamas and listening to a hired DJ for spring training. The work hard, play hard mentality is a team-based approach that increases engagement and morale. Challenge employees with new projects and deadlines, and then reward them when goals are met with company outings and activities. This promotes new friendships within the company, lifts morale, and brings excitement and passion to day-to-day activities.

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