Beyond the Build


Spring Training and Corporate Culture

To me, baseball spring training season has always been a time of new beginnings, when teams have a chance to remake themselves, and to change their culture if needed.

Why can companies and organizations not treat the coming season in the same way? I recently, I found a good starting point. The former CEO of a Fortune 100 company said companies need to do these four things well to prosper:

  1. Create an environment that fosters leaders of the future.
  2. Look constantly for ways to improve productivity.
  3. Foster an atmosphere of innovation.
  4. Execute the strategy with discipline.

To these, I would add a 5th: Empower those within the organization to have the courage to act, even if that means going on instinct instead of facts.

The top of the organization needs to understand all five elements and lead by example. Giving the “A” players an opportunity to lead will spread the desired culture. Should failure occur, embrace it as part of the process. Just like baseball teams, if you have the talent and the culture is right, you’ve got a winning combination.

A good culture is intangible, and somewhat elusive, but when it’s on track–all other things being equal–success is inevitable. This gives the organization an ability to be nimble, improving customer relationships and the bottom line. It’s almost magical what can happen when the culture is right.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.