One of the things that makes our platform The Athletics of Business so much fun and effective at the same time, is the fact that we are never short on stories to write where you can show the congruency of leadership skills executed in sports and the business world. There are times when you have to choose which story will be most productive to share and will identify the leadership skills in the most compelling way. Here in Chicago today it was a very easy decision, the Chicago Cubs and what they did in the top of the ninth inning last night in the City by the Bay!

The Cubs became the first team since the 1986 Mets and the second team in history, to charge back from three runs down in the ninth inning to clinch a postseason series. They did it by scoring four runs off of five relievers on the road in a hostile environment. Prior to the ninth inning they had only two hits and two runs. One of those hits was a two run homer by Ross, who at 39 years young is the oldest catcher ever to hit a home run in the postseason.

This team is fun. They are nuts. They work their tails off. Get this, they like each other. A lot. In other words, they have found a way put personal agendas aside and commit to being something bigger than themselves. They are not worried about a goat or a curse, they are focused on today. The next game, the next inning, the next at bat. They respect the game. This group is resilient; they just do not quit.

And, they are a direct reflection of their leader Joe Maddon. They all seem to be normal human beings who are doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

Prior to the San Francisco series Joe Maddon told the team that, something bad is going to happen and when it does we have to stay in the moment and maintain our composure. In other words, at some point our backs are going to be against the wall and we have to hold true to what got us here while at the saw time improvising and be resilient in the face of adversity. It is in these moments that we find out how great we truly are.

The Relevance of Resiliency

Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness. In the business world it refers to the ability to withstand disruptive shocks, manage complexity and recover from challenging times. I think you can also include vision (long-term thinking), evolution and the ability to improvise. Resilient companies require a special kind of leader-one who accepts reality and understands the challenges they face, has a solid grasp of the risk and opportunities that are present, ability to communicate these things to stakeholders and has integrity, energy and passion. Does this not sound like Joe Maddon?

We live in a world where trends and societal moods are always changing. Those are just a couple of the factors leaders of resilient teams and organizations have to be cognizant of on a daily basis. In a 2012 Green Biz article, they talk about the 6 traits that define a resilient leader and there is no question these traits can be applied at every level of any organization.

  • External Awareness and appreciation of trends
  • Vision and strategy formula
  • Risk awareness, assessment and management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Flexibility and adaptability to change
  • Ethics and integrity

The key to being a resilient leader is how to be true to these six traits while maintaining the leadership style which makes you so successful and unique. This is Joe Maddon in a nutshell and I highly recommend you take some time to listen to and read the stories that will come up as the Cubs make their run to a World Series ring! Not only will you gain a perspective on his unconventional style, it could help you think outside of your leadership box just a bit.


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