A different view of leadership and the Minnesota Twins

I’m a Minnesota Twins fan and they’re having a terrific 2019 season after a long stretch of not-so-terrific results. The on-field improvements have arrived a few seasons after myriad off-field changes to their entire operation.

A Baseball Prospectus story about that transition highlighted what I believe is a better way to view leadership. It’s less about an individual and more about the group.

I talked recently to a member of the Twins front office about the concept of clubhouse leadership and they opened my eyes to a different way of viewing the entire concept, particularly as it relates to stories like those of Odorizzi and Pérez. Because so much of what actually happens in a clubhouse is seen only by players, coaches, and other team staff, fans are often fed a version of “clubhouse leadership” that stems largely from how players behave in public and/or around the media. But is that really what matters most?

Having a generally sunny disposition is never a bad thing and goes a long way in that regard, and a willingness to provide thoughtful quotes to beat reporters or television cameras can positively shape a player’s image even further. Those things have value, certainly, but some well-liked players offer zero tangible help to teammates behind the scenes and some media-phobic grumps go out of their way to share knowledge when no one is recording what they say.

Some players combine those traits, and the Twins have tried to collect as many of them in one clubhouse as possible. That’s not necessarily unique, but it’s a new twist on the old leadership cliches, at least. If someone has knowledge that can help win games, the Twins want it and they want it shared throughout every level of the organization. Anyone or anything stopping that flow — be it a manager, a coach, a player, or even a lack of technology and data resources — is now a candidate for swift change.

“If someone has knowledge that can help win games, the Twins want it and they want it shared throughout every level of the organization.”

Amy Padnani and Overlooked

I had the opportunity to attend Amy Padnani’s CreativeMornings talk a few weeks back. She was so good!

Amy took on a project as an editor on the New York Times obituary desk centered on the question of “Why don’t you have more women and people of color in your obituaries?”

The result is Overlooked, an ongoing series of obituaries for women and people of color that deserved an NYT obituary when they died but didn’t get one. There’s a book and a TV show on the way.

Not only is it an inspirational project for equality reasons, it was cool to hear her talk about navigating the bureaucracy, tradition, and status quo of the organization to make the project happen.

Time boxing and SNL

Bud tweeted:

So I watched:

And it was terrific. It’s amazing that the show happens every week.

Time-boxing is also a critical element of Niels Pflaeging’s Very Fast Organizational Transformation: “The insight here is quite intuitive, really: We should always time-box (or: ‘restrict’) periods of time during which specific organizational development work is supposed to take place. This way, we do not artificially fix the scope of the work, but the time allocated.”