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Out of Our Minds
Friday, October 22, 2004 10:02 AM
Winning and the Yankees
Anita Sharpe on Business

Many decades ago, my dad was offered a spot on a Boston Red Sox farm team. While he opted to go to college instead, I've always had a warm spot in my heart for the Sox and rooted for them to make it to the World Series.

Despite that, I admire the Yankees more than just about any team in sports. Season after season, they are winners even when they lose.

A few days ago, I heard Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter speak about her new book, Confidence , which explores winning and losing streaks. 'Even winners lose,' she notes. But she found that companies and sports teams with a strong year-after-year culture of winning share at least three qualities:

Winners are accountable. 'People take responsibility,' she says.\n\nWinners cooperate with one another. 'On a winning team, it's about the team, not about stars,' says Kanter.\n\nWinners take initiative. Losers exhibit 'learned helplessness,' blame external factors and believe they can't really do much to change things.\n\nI thought about this as I was reading the New York Times story today about what went wrong with the Yankees. They were accountable: each team member that made mistake owned up to it. It was a team loss: as General Manager Brian Cashman summed up: 'there was a collective breakdown on the team the last four games.' \n\nAnd I feel certain that lack of initiative isn't going to be a factor for the Yanks. As Kanter notes in her book, the Yankee spring training camp in Florida has a sign above the whirlpool that says: 'Games are never won in the whirlpool.'\n\n\n\n


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Jen - 11/29/2004 12:56:32 PM
I love the Yankees because they are clean cut, to the point hard workers. Yes they may be payed the most in baseball, but they also produce. They truly are a business, what do you think they are being payed for? To win.
Robert - 10/27/2004 6:51:40 PM
Well, as Yogi Berra might say about his Yankees, 'Everyone hates us. That's why we're so popular.'

Kate - 10/25/2004 5:40:39 PM
Reminds me of one of the oft-repeated quotes I've seen on Red Sox message boards during the past few days: 'The Yankees are about business. The Red Sox are about baseball.'
anita - 10/25/2004 2:39:33 PM
I guess this is why this item was met by such deafening silence.

So. . . I also admire Bobby Cox a lot.
Kent - 10/25/2004 2:20:53 PM
Count me as a Red Sox fan who will never admire the Yankees. A paragraph from Mark Shields' column on CNN Politics sums up my feelings:

The Yankees inspire a pure, clean hatred. Bill Veeck, a man of intellect and character (unlike so many baseball owners), spoke for a majority: 'Hating the Yankees isn't part of my act; it is one of those exquisite times when life and art are in perfect conjunction.' Writer Bill Mead put it well: 'Most all good Americans hate the Yankees. It is a value we cherish and pass on to our children like decency, and democracy and the importance of a good breakfast.' Why? Mead was asked: 'They're spoiled rotten. They think they're such Hot Stuff. Their owner is obnoxious. Their fans are gross and crude.'


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