Casey & I were blessed this past week to spend an hour of time with the President of the Atlanta Braves, John Schuerholz. I had met Mr. Schuerholz twice in the past few months, at a business luncheon and a funeral. I had told him that my son thought he might want to get into front office baseball work and he said he would be glad to spend some time with us and answer any questions that Casey might have. Here are a few lessons I learned from maybe the greatest general manager that baseball has ever known….these are not things he necessarily said but things I took away from the meeting:
- Study what you do constantly…..As Mr. Schuerholz spoke throughout the meeting – I could tell he knows as much about the game today as he did when was a GM
- Don’t forget how you started…..He, many times while meeting, told Casey that he remembered what it was like to break in to baseball and he had not forgotten how many breaks he had to get where he is today
- When you have a dream pursue it…..Schuerholz was an 8th grade teacher when he wrote a letter to the team president of the Orioles about wanting to get in to baseball.
- God’s hand plays a huge role in the breaks we get…..His letter ended up in the hands of Lou Gorman who worked for the Orioles and was looking for an assistant….
- Love what you do…..He told Casey, “I don’t feel like I have ever worked a day…..it is fun”
- Great leaders know what pieces make a good team….”It’s not just putting great players on the field – it is putting players together that work good together and are better together than a part”
- Be willing to take a risk…..”Leaving Kansas City as GM everyone thought I was crazy, but I could see that Atlanta could be something special”…..was he ever right!
- Put good people around you……many of Schuerholz’s former front office staff are now regarded as some of the best in baseball with other organizations!
- Expect Excellence…..from the time you walk in the door to the corporate offices, to the aisle ushers at the games, to the players on the field….excellence is the always the mark! He never said it – but you sure could not miss it!!