The Real Competitive Advantage is Knowing Your Players

There are two things I’m really passionate about:

1) Helping people reach their potential

2) The Chicago CUBS!

Recently, I was reading a story about how the Chicago Cub’s legendary President Theo Epstein has shifted the way he handles player development. In 2002, at age 28, Epstein became the Red Sox’ general manager – the youngest in major-league history. He would win two World Series titles in the next five years, ending an 86-year championship drought for the Red Sox. Intense statistical analysis of players was just coming into vogue.

‘‘Fifteen years ago there weren’t that many teams specializing in the use of statistical models to succeed,’’ he said. Now every team has that advantage. ‘‘Now the real competitive advantage is in player development—understanding that your young players are human beings.’’

It’s a concept that has to do with more than just finding talent. Once found, that talent must be understood, educated, made comfortable and placed in soil where it blooms into the grand flower it portends. Make players’ minds stronger, and it’s better than bat speed or stats.

Holy cow, hope springs eternal; I think this is our year! (For the Cubbies…)


In the vain of understanding how you interact with your team, let’s consider 5 questions to make sure you are considering the human element in your organization.

Do I coach without discouraging?

In other words, when I coach my professionals, am I doing so in a positive manner? Do I leave my people better than before? That is – are they more motivated after our conversation than before?

Does the way I spend my time match my priorities?

In other words, if my goal is to develop my people, am I spending enough time developing my people? Yes, your tasks aren’t going to get done on their own, but small changes help a great deal.

Do I practice proactive or reactive management?

Am I meeting with my people regularly, or only when a problem appears? Proactive management involves regularly scheduled one-to-one conversations. Reactive management consists of putting out fires and endlessly chasing your tail around the room.

Do I listen to my people?

When speaking with me, do my people feel like they’re the only person in the room? Although I’m presenting all the attributes of active listening, am I actually hearing what the other person wants me to hear? Am I reading emotions or only listening to their words? Am I actually listening?

Do I leave my people better than before?

Here’s the biggie! Every interaction is a chance to leave your people better than beforeBetter able to sell than before. Better able to meet the day’s challenges than before. More confident than before. Dealing with you should be a positive, not a negative. Try to make it that way. You’ll be happy you did.

That’s just the way it works.


Darryl Rosen is the former President and owner of Sam’s Wines & Spirits in Chicago.  Presently, he’s specializes in helping independent beverage retailers get and keep more customers.  For a completely FREE webinar revealing 3 simple strategies for quickly and dramatically exploding your profits, click here.


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