Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey. Baseball. Coherence.

In that mellow, happy interlude between the Thanksgiving meal and the parade of pies for dessert, my mother-in-law posed a question to me which needed an answer.  

"So, just what IS going on with the Chicago Cubs?"  

My oldest son joined the discussion, an inter-generational reflection by three die-hard Cub fans on the direction of our favorite team.  The new management of the team (known for having the longest stretch of futility in major American sports, 103 years since winning baseball's World Series) is trying to fill the numerous gaping holes in the Cubs' lineup before the season begins again in April.

"But who are they going to get?" my perceptive mother-in-law continued. "We have no pitching.  Who will play first base? Can anyone hit?"  As usual, she was correct in her questioning.  

My son weighed in.  He pays particular attention to pitchers and his recitation of the low level of starting and bullpen talent slowly deflated the happy feelings still lingering from the meal.  

"So, is there ANY hope?"  his grandmother sighed.  

Only with a consistent approach, I suggested.  "Consistent?"  Yes.  Only with a broad framework of making decisions, selecting talent and making game decisions could the Cubs change their trajectory.  There are several such frameworks in baseball...the Cubs have never embraced any of them.  Good decisions, when uncoordinated, make for a disjointed organization.  And 103 years of futility. 

In the business world, understanding Lean gives such coherence to decision making.  It is this, far beyond its mere tools, which makes it a powerful concept.  

Would Lean help the Cubs?  I'm not going that far.  But it does mean a lot for most of our organizations. 

Keep learning.