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5 Business Lessons from the St. Louis Cardinals

These birds can teach us all something about hard work.

Has the economy been tough on your business and income? Do you feel like you are working more hours for less money? Well, you are not alone. Never fear; I may have just the thing to pick you up. If you are like me, I start looking for inspiration to push me forward when things get tough. Here is a dose from the Show-Me State.

The St. Louis Cardinals had a wild and improbable season in which they ended up WINNING the 2011 World Series. Consider the rough road they had to travel:

  • The best pitcher was lost for the season due to injury.
  • The best hitter had the least productive offensive season of his career.
  • The closer, a former All-Star, was so bad that he lost his job in the season’s first month.
  • The team won 16 games in their last 21 to win the National League Wild Card and a spot in the playoffs.
  • In that NLCS, the Cardinals became the first team IN HISTORY to win a postseason series without a single starting pitcher getting an out in the sixth inning or beyond!
  • Being one strike away from losing, TWICE, in game six of the World Series, the Cardinals won in extra innings on a walk-off home run.

What can we take away from this incredible come-from-behind story?

  1. Laser-like focus pays off. If you focus on your goal with laser-like intensity and don’t let ANYTHING take away your attention, you CAN win. Put on your blinders, get focused and start winning.
  2. Build a better bench. When the best players are not performing, somebody has to step up. If you have invested in your people and have a strong bench, you will be just fine.
  3. Strong, steady leadership is critical. If the manager loses it, chances are the rest of the team will suffer a similar breakdown. Find leaders who flinch as much as Tony LaRussa and you should be in good shape. LaRussa recently announced his retirement and I’m sure he’ll be missed.
  4. Get over your mistakes. You are going to make a lot of mistakes along the way, so get over it. Learn from your failures, but don’t dwell on them. It does no good. The only thing that matters is how you recover.
  5. Keep a rally squirrel handy. Did the rally squirrel miraculously help the Cardinals win? Yes, it did. Maybe the team needed something completely absurd to shift their focus away from a goal that seemed utterly impossible. It never hurts to have your own rally squirrel.

When you think things are tough and winning looks impossible, let the St. Louis Cardinals inspire you to greatness. It wasn’t pretty at times, but they kept their heads down and just made it happen. So should you.

What else can we learn from the kings of the comeback? Tell me in the comments section below.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.

6 thoughts on “5 Business Lessons from the St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Hard work, character, and heart always beat talent:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/st-louis-cardinals-world-series_n_1067294.html
    http://www.semissourian.com/story/1781435.html

    Jim Collins “Good to Great” talks about getting the “who” right before the “what”. The Cards got the right people and players on the bus. LaRussa mastered the art of who to put in what seat when (batting Allen Craig, moving Berkman up in the order, pulling Holliday for 7, etc).

    It was definitely one for the ages, especially for a St. Louis native stuck in Chicagoland…Great perspectives, Mark!

  2. Excellent points nephew…even though someone might not be a fan of the champioship Cardinals there is definitely a lesson to be learned. Good job in pointing them out.

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