Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ready to rumble...

BusinessWeek's Aug. 21 issue features some great advice and ideas on the subject of winning. The introduction is written by Joe Torre, who as the Manager of the New York Yankees, has led his club to the Major League Basebell playoffs for ten consecutive years. Personally, my first memories of Joe go back to when he was a player for the St. Louis Cardinals, the team I grew up following. My father was formerly an airplane pilot and the manager of a private, St. Louis-based charter service, and according to his own report, back in 1969 or so, he had tossed Mr. Torre out of his office for littering it with his cigar ashes. By virtue of this tale, which may very well be a tall one, visions of the now-legendary manager have always brought a sparkle to my eye... and seeing his pearls of wisdom in BusinessWeek made me appreciate what this gentleman -- who has not always been a "winner" -- has accomplished in his life.

Here's my favorite part of Mr. Torre's piece, to inspire us all to take heart in what we do: "I played and managed in more than 4,000 big league games before I ever got to a World Series. But all that experience without a championship helped me prepare for what I needed to do when I came to the Yankees. When I first accepted the job at the end of 1995, my brother Frank said I was crazy. Others were writing about how I wasn't capable of doing this. All I knew was that George Steinbrenner was the guy who was going to give me the tools. Then it was up to me. I wasn't afraid of the challenge. I saw it as a big opportunity. Still, even with all the talent and resources we have here, having heart is what really makes a difference. As a manager, or if you're running a company, you want to know that you can ask somebody to do something and that they are going to find a way to get the job done. That's the essence of a competitor."