Chicago Cubs and Correcting Mistakes Immediately

Posted on March 21, 2012 | in Baseball, Employee Knowledge, Lean Wastes, Sports, Teamwork | by

New manager Dave Sveum has brought a “new philosophy” to the Chicago Cubs this year in spring training – correcting mistakes immediately, greater accountability, and working to get it right the first time.

‘We’ve addressed being held accountable on the defensive end of everything,’ Sveum said Friday. ‘When something happens on the field, it’s taken care of right when they get off the field. You don’t have time for the mistakes or mental mistakes to happen again.’

Whether it’s proper technique, positioning, strategy, footwork, communication, or other things it’s good that someone isn’t afraid to step up to say what needs to be said.

‘Some people like to do say, ‘Well, I’ll take care of it after the game.’ What if there are six innings left and it happens again? If something goes awry on the field, you have to address it right then and hold people accountable for what goes on on the field.’

This also goes back to the fifth principle from the Toyota Way: build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right from the first.

Will this help the Cubs end their 103-year World Series championship drought? Hey, any opportunity to make improvements has to count for something.

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4 Responses to “Chicago Cubs and Correcting Mistakes Immediately”

  1. Mark Graban says:

    That does sound like Lean, the idea of prompt feedback and corrective action.

    If Dr. Deming said “94% of the problems are due to the system,” the number for personal accountability in sports has probably got to be higher… but still, do you blame the individual or coach them to get better? Interesting to think through how this translates.

    Dr. Deming was famously opposed to the annual performance review — he said to substitute leadership, or ongoing coaching and help. The manager’s job is to help the employee succeed, as says Samuel Culbert who is one of the leading thinkers on this now.

    I still think the Cubs need a lot more to cure the curse 🙂

  2. Chad Walters says:

    I think the media makes it easy to play the blame game because they want to sensationalize sports and create drama, when truthfully a sports organization is like a small business filled with unique personalities and capabilities. Part of the responsibility lies with the organization to create a culture of doing things right and facilitate self-policing – after all, just like with any other organization, if the management doesn’t care enough to try to fix it right away it demonstrates that it’s simply not important enough.

    Others would simply like to say that athletes are different from employees – well, are they? What makes them different? They all have to perform at high levels, they have to fit the system in which their placed…

    I love this approach taken by Dave Sveum. With this being part of the organizational plan, let’s make sure the Cubs stick with it – who says this couldn’t be the tipping point to push the Cubbies over the edge?

  3. Pingback: LinkedIn’s Version of the Fail Whale | Lean Blitz – Do it better.

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