This year’s World Series was one of the most entertaining in recent memory as the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games. But if you follow baseball, you know that the Astros haven’t always been entertaining. Just 5 years ago, they were the “Lastros.” They had the worst record in baseball in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
While there were many ingredients in their success, here are 4 lessons that are particularly relevant for turnaround organizations and their leaders:
- Rebuilding takes time. In 2010, the Astros decided to rebuild from the bottom up. They began drafting talented players who eventually became the stars of the 2017 World Series. But they weren’t stars immediately. The team’s leadership had to suffer through several difficult years while allowing these players to improve. Ministry leaders often waste time and energy looking for quick fixes that never materialize rather than developing a rebuilding plan that might work.
- Talent must be developed intentionally. Drafting great players is just a starting point. The Astros’ coaches had to work with each player to unlock their full potential. Two veterans who were added to the roster in the off-season (Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran) provided mentoring and leadership for younger teammates. Many churches and non-profits have talented people on their bench who need to be invited to get in the game and coached to develop their capabilities.
- Big, risky bets may be required. During the playoff run, The Astros looked like geniuses for their late season acquisition of pitcher Justin Verlander. It was not a cheap deal. And Verlander’s 10-8 record in the first half of the season was no predictor of how well he would perform in the playoffs. Ministry leaders should not gamble foolishly, but they can’t win by playing it safe either.
- Success is never guaranteed. Even though the Astros management was committed to the bottom-up rebuilding strategy, there was no guarantee that it would work. Top draft picks can fizzle out (in fact, at least one did). The team’s leaders were committed to seeing the strategy to its completion. Ministry leaders should recognize the cost and uncertainties before embarking on a long-term rebuilding strategy.
What steps do you need to take to build a winning team?
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