How A Great Workplace Culture Makes People Shine


This past Sunday, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta pitched a no-hitter. It was an amazing accomplishment in what is turning out to become a promising future for this talented player.

But what was more amazing in this successful event was how the culture of the Cubs organization contributed to Arrieta’s rise in performance.

Here is an excerpt from the ESPN article describing Arrieta’s arrival two years ago to the Cubs:

“Everyone made me feel extremely welcome and the comfort level was there from the get-go,” Arrieta said of becoming a Cub. “I started doing things I knew I was capable of doing to help me be more consistent. The momentum continued to roll throughout the remainder of 2013 and 2014, and then this year.”

Arrieta’s diet and workout routine are well-documented going back to his college days at TCU. But everything didn’t click until he came to the Cubs. His devastating array of pitches finally matched up with the mental and physical parts of the game. The result is a complete pitcher with no-hitter stuff not just once in a while but nearly every five days.

In observing how the pieces came together this past Sunday, we can see how a combination of talent and positive workplace culture laid the groundwork for a current trajectory of remarkable performance.

Here are some takeaways every organization should integrate to create a culture of this type:

  • Seek the best talent. The Cubs have overhauled their entire organization and are pursuing some of the best raw talent in the game. Companies that seek out the best talent, not necessarily the best in the  business, get people who are committed to working hard in their development.
  • Look for compliments to your team. Many sports teams acquire great players, but if they don’t click in the clubhouse, they will not achieve their goals. (Compare the 2013 Boston Red Sox to the 2015 Red Sox). Seek talent that fits will with the rest of the team. Having a person that doesn’t mesh with the culture will create divisions within the organization.
  • Create a culture that connects. The above article mentions how welcoming the team has been to Arrieta, and how well he fits the organizational model. He feels like an integral part of the team, and given everything he needs to maintain the workout regimen he has set for himself. A great culture will do the same for every employee.
  • Make training and development a key focus. Imagine if the Cubs, or any sports team, skimped on practices, exercise, coaches, or trainers. How would this impact their performance in doing their jobs? Yet many organizations take away from this essential need through budget cuts or plain skimping, and then wonder why performance and engagement lags. Every organization need to focus on training and development or they will cease to sustain themselves. Put your resources when the best return always lies – your people.
  • Bring in the correct support staff to compliment them. A no-hitter is not just a result of a stellar pitcher. The catcher has to understand the pitcher’s strengths that day and adjust to the game accordingly. Great defensive plays must be made. The offense need to score runs to win. Without a compliment of teammates to help, pitchers can never have a game like Arrieta did. Make sure you surround each and every employee with others that play off their strengths and compliments their talents. Look across teams to make sure all necessary skill sets are present and being strengthened as a whole.

When the right culture, with the right people, are knit together towards a common goal, talent will develop and great achievements will result. Every organization should work with the goal to create a culture that allows their people to thrive and attain levels of performance they would not achieve elsewhere.

Does you culture allow others to meet their potential? If so, let us know how!

(image: morguefile)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on September.3.2015, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: