Perpetuating Mediocrity

In our local paper the other day there was an article about a former star baseball player from one of the local high schools who had played 13 or 14 years in the minor leagues and was just named a manger of a minor league team. In the article it was made to sound that his main qualification was that he was a good baseball man, never rocked the boat. This to me is an example of why sports like baseball make very little progress. Now is the time of the year that baseball teams are hiring coaching staffs for their player development/minor leagues, it is also the time when football coaches are being fired and new ones hired. If you watch it closely you will see it is a repeating process of recycling the same people into new jobs to repeat the same mistakes they made in their last job. No new ideas, no innovation, just hire friends and people they are comfortable with. Never break the mold. It is interesting to note that John Wooden said that one of the reasons he won his first championship in 1964 was that he went outside the family so to speak and hired an assistant with different ideas, the result, the famous UCLA Zone press the cornerstone of their championship teams. It is hard to get out of a comfort zone, but that is the only to innovate and make progress.


At 11/26/07, 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strong leadership encourages people to look for new ideas by challenging them. Reward to success identify with failure and punishment to inaction.  

Instead most will avoid it, this way they don't lose their privileges. And they often view outsiders as trespasser that don't fit into their mold.
It's heal, sit, stay.

At 11/27/07, 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only insanity if the new hire did not learn from his mistakes and repeats them. I suspect many never learn and keep repeating them.

Mark Day

At 11/27/07, 12:36 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Sports is a tight-knit world and people inside are loathe to break with tradition. Billy Beane tried, butnow that the small budget A's are back to a middle of the pack team, everyone can go back to the tried and true, which, of course, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I argued for 5 years that WNBA teams needed to try something different, as they all looked almost identical in approach, style of play, emphasis, etc. Finally, the Mercury hired Paul Westphal, they dared to be different and they won the WNBA Championship.

Now, management used a familiar formula - hire an ex-NBA guy - but at least they hired one who thinks differently and for this they were rewarded.

However, I know from experience that the safe hire is the one getting the job because it's easier for the GM or AD to explain away his mistake and keep his job than if he takes a chance or thinks outside the box.

At 11/27/07, 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with hiring people we know?

Wouldn't you want to surround yourself with the people you know and trust to run your program/team/company?

Now, there is a need to identify the good workers/coaches/teachers. If your friends/pals/buddies are not doing their job or holding up the workload, then you need to step and point it out to them. Friendship is one thing, but work is another.

At 11/27/07, 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know; maybe, maybe not.


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