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Success Stories: From the Ballpark to the Boardroom

By Kim Palagyi

Today’s Major League Baseball Opening Day marks a time of new beginnings. Fans, players, and coaches alike relish the one day a year where championship dreams are possible for everyone. The reality of achieving this dream comes down to more than a big budget and star picks: its based on a genuine understanding of who you are as a team and what you’re capable of achieving together.

No one understands this better than the Chicago Cubs. After seasons of disappointing performances The Cubs Way was enacted by Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations and former famed manager of the Boston Red Sox,  to revolutionize every element of the Cubs.

The Cubs Way outlines and synthesizes who the team is and should be, and compiles that into a compelling story to map the path to success. Just a few years since Epstein’s takeover, the Cubs are poised to win it all, right after a spectacular 2015 season with 97 wins and a postseason appearance.  This is exciting for a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. The Cubs Way has made this possible. The Cubs Way diverts from the idea of building a better team exclusively by getting the best players possible, and instead emphasizes how to live out and emulate a specific narrative of success.

It would deal with every detail imaginable, from what foot Cubs players would use when rounding first base (right foot) to what kind of players Cubs scouts should look for (pitchers and hitters who can control the strike zone) to the Cubs’ philosophy of how baseball should be played (loose and fun). 

The Cubs Way is an internal road map to success. At Woden, The Cubs Way sounds all too familiar. We too feel that story, and a business aligned behind a brand narrative bolsters success. So much in fact, that we developed the StoryGuideTM. The StoryGuide is a living, breathing document that encapsulates every element of who you are as a business. Furthermore, it is a how-to book on injecting your narrative into everything you do from web copy, to sales collateral, to social media.  And just like the Cubs, the StoryGuide yields success.

The Cubs Way really boils down to the people. The players, obviously, but then all the scouts, all the people in the minor leagues, here in the big leagues. It’s more than words on a page. It comes down to how deep we dig to get connected to players, to teach the game the right way, how much we care, how committed we are, how we treat each other in the front office, the coaches, the players, how hard we work.

The power of story aligns how people work together. It provides ambition, and a mission to achieve new heights. A strong narrative produces the ephemeral glue that will bind together your institution and carry your company to triumph. When the Cubs play the Angels tonight they’ll have The Cubs Way to rely on – you should consider offering your business the same foundation.

Kim Palagyi is an Associate at Woden. Whatever your storytelling needs may be, let Woden help. Download our free Storytelling Blueprint, or send us an email at connect@wodenworks.com to discuss how we can help tell your story.