only a hole in Arizona. — George F. Will
series at Fenway Park in dramatic style in Game 6 of series against
the St. Louis Cardinals. The championship was their third Series win
since 2004 and was the first one clinched at home since 1918.
Writing in Where Have All the Tigers Gone, Lynn Hall said, “We did not
change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.” What
the Red Sox experienced and what every leader learns is the discovery
of one’s self. The Red Sox did it on a grand stage. While you may not,
the lessons remain. Here are five take-aways from the Red Sox
championship season and why they matter.
Every season is a new beginning.
Red Sox fans remember the 2012 late-season meltdown. They took a nine
game lead into September and finished the month 7-20 and missed the
playoffs. It was an epic collapse with too many variables to mention.
But that was 2012. Every team and every leader knows that slumps
happen. But great teams and great leaders find ways to overcome, make
changes, and rebound. And that’s exactly what the Red Sox did in 2013.
You have to be willing to make the tough decisions to right your
course. Don’t dwell on the past, focus on your future.
Adversity brings out the best.
As the Red Sox looked to put the 2012 season behind them and start
afresh, they were dealt another blow. On April 15, the Boston bombing
occurred during the Boston Marathon. The tragedy would unite the city
and “Boston Strong” would emerge as the theme of a newly invigorated
city and team. In the face of such a terrible tragedy the Red Sox
showed the world that no adversity was too strong to overcome. As a
leader you will have tests and trials but if you adapt a “Boston
Strong” attitude there is no adversity you can’t overcome.
The fundamentals matter.
With the bombing behind them and the long season before them, the Red
Sox under the leadership of new manager John Farrell put the Red Sox
on pace to take command of the AL East and ultimately play in the
World Series. Under his direction the team embraced a new attitude and
work ethic in their approach to each game. Pre-game routines were now
centered squarely on the game and how each player would perform. No
detail was too small and each player relished their roles. Every
successful leader understands that in order to succeed and rise above
the competition every detail matters. Winning the big prize happens
through the mastery of the little things that put you in a position to
win and it keeps you there.
In a postgame TV interview Dustin Pedroia said, “We just didn’t get
nice guys that are fun to be around, the guys we got stepped up. It
was unbelievable team effort by everybody.” That surmises the attitude
of a winning team. A winning mentality is characterized by a total
commitment by players who step up and do what needs to be done. The
Red Sox did just that. All good leaders do. As a leader you want total
buy-in by the members on your team. Your success depends on it.
Every team needs a “Big Papi.”
“Big Papi” David Ortiz was named the World Series MVP. It was a
no-brainer. Ortiz was on fire batting .688 with seven runs, eleven
hits, two home runs, six RBI’s, and two walks with a .760 OBP. It goes
without saying that he not just deserved the MVP award but provided
several of the clutch plays when the Red Sox needed them the most. The
spark Ortiz provided helped to lift his team to their championship
title. Ortiz’s crowning achievement will silence critics of the past
who questioned his abilities and age.
The lessons we can take away from the Red Sox World Series
Championship are many. And the parallels to leadership are plenty. But
remember this: no adversity can overtake you if your resolve to
succeed is strong enough. Champions find a way to win like all good
leaders do. Never doubt yourself or your abilities and never allow
past failures to define your future. Be “Boston Strong” and you will
Doug Dickerson is a syndicated columnist. He writes a weekly column
for this newspaper. To contact Doug Dickerson, email him at