The Power of Thinking Big and Bigger – Steinbrenner and Welch

With the recent passing of George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, fresh on our minds, it’s beneficial and timely to take a look at a couple core philosophies and actions that he undertook which would apply to any business.

If you start by looking at the outcomes of what he did, you identify tremendous revenue streams and many World Championships won.

But there was a lot that happened before that revenue and those championships were won. There were many managers hired and fired. There are many players who played for him. There was the rejection by his hometown of Cleveland when he wanted to own the Indians. He was suspended by Major League Baseball. But in the end, he persevered; he changed as a person and as a leader. And throughout this time, he was willing to spend money to get the best and brightest. He was willing to create his own entertainment network to promote his main product – the Yankees. And while the grandiose scale and financial resources of Steinbrenner are hard for us to imagine having ourselves, that mindset is not so hard to imagine.

So imagine we own a business, and our business is a sports franchise. And whether we want to increase our season ticket holder base, retain more season ticket holders, increase fans’ passion, or create our own internal “Raving Fans” in the minds and hearts of our employees, we have to think big. We get very little success in life if we look for and think about and expect very little. But we have the greatest opportunities to achieve big things if we think bigger.

I remember a story of how Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, went into some of the GE businesses to talk to the leadership in those businesses, and he congratulated them on their high market share. The leaders were pleased with the praise, but they had plateaued in their growth because they had such huge market share, and the markets just weren’t growing.

So Welch told them to redefine what their market was so that they would only be a small player in this newly redefined market. And once they did, the innovation, the creativity, and the growth all started to happen again.

Look at what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization, then take a step back to think big. Maybe you can or can’ t accomplish every idea you come up with, but just by viewing the possibilities, you’ll uncover new ways to think and to act and to succeed.

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