The San Francisco Giants – Leadership Lessons from Baseball’s Best Franchise

December 24, 2012 — Leave a comment

In October, the San Francisco Giants won their second World Series Championship in three years. They have established themselves as one of the top franchises and most valuable sports brands. There are some valuable lessons for marketers and business leaders.
The Giant Way – Stable Leadership
The San Francisco Giants believe in stability on the mound, the dugout and the front office. Team president Larry Baer has been with the organization for over 20 years. Manager Bruce Bochy has been in place for six years and pitching coach Dave Righetti 13 years. GM Brian Sabean is entering his 17th year. Brian and his staff continue to be the modern model for baseball operations departments, combining cutting edge analytics with deeply experienced and stable leadership. The whole organization is built on a culture trust, continuity and mutual respect.
 

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Playing to their Unique Strengths – Embrace Your Differences

AT&T Park is one of the toughest places in baseball to hit a home run. While most of baseball has been in love with the long ball and high priced free agent acquisitions, the Giants in the post Bonds era have been built on pitching, defense, role players and a strong minor league system.  Buster Posey was the only on field starter from the 2010 championship team. They have embraced their differences rather than the trying to be like other teams.

Connecting With Their Fans
AT&T Park is one of the best fan experiences in baseball. The Giants have connected with their fan base through shared experiences and through quirky players with appealing personalities like Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval,Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson. We saw the Giants play in San Diego this summer and I was amazed at the number of Giants fans in attendance.
Shared Purpose – Play For Each Other
When the Giants were down 2 games to none in the NLDS, a newcomer Hunter Pence stepped forward with an inspirational speech that served as a catalyst for their championship run. In many cultures, Pence would have been dismissed as to new to be listened to. The Giants culture of trust embraced his message.

The core of Hunter Pence’s inspiring speech was that he did not want the season to end because he did not want to stop being with the team.  He did not want the group to disband.  He spoke of his respect and love for each member of the team.  He spoke of belonging to something larger than himself, more special than anything he could accomplish alone, and the fleeting nature of the experience.  The team responded by not focusing on the fear of failure, or the potential of losing glory and individual riches. Instead, they played to not let down their teammates.  They played for a shared purpose.  They played for each other. And in the process, they happened to win a championship.

What other lessons can be learned from the success of the San Francisco Giants?
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