5 for 5 blog – Loyalty Rewarded

7 Nov


Disclaimer: the author has been a diehard Cubs fan since 1984.

Whether you are a Cubs fan or not, this week’s World Series was something amazing. Five million fans are estimated to have made the trek to downtown Chicago to celebrate with the team this past Friday. Admittedly I was overwhelmed by the game 7 win and the subsequent outpouring of information on social media as well as the celebration in Chicago. But since the game and over the weekend, I have been pondering a few questions:

Why do people become fans? Why stay with a team that has been very average and some years downright bad? Why do people become loyal?

Let’s face it….the Cubs were called the loveable loses for a reason. here are some stats to prove it:

  • In the last 108 years, the Cubs have had more losing seasons than winning seasons (58 losing to 50 winning, if my count was correct)
  • As of late 2015,  they had 8428 losses (vs. just 8278 wins)

So why would anyone stick with the Cubs for their whole lifetime. Today, people dump stocks after one bad quarter, we clln for the ousting of leaders for decisions that don’t give perfect results, and we provide scathing reviews of restaurants and products that even slightly miss our expectations. But yet for teams like the Cubs and others, we will give up our time and resources to stay in touch. We become emotionally invested. We become fans. Which begs the question:

How do we build fans for life?

May be it is the environment

While admittedly, I have not been to as many of the historic parks as I would like, Wrigley Field is certainly special. Tucked in a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, with the ivy on the outfield wall, classic bleachers , and the manually operated scoreboard, stepping into the stands is like stepping back in time. There was nothing like Harry Carry singing “Take me out to the ballgame” when I was a kid. And I used to love watching the vendors work the aisles, lugging 20 lbs. of steaming hot dogs and cold beers in the food bins

May be it is the atmosphere

If creating a great environment is about what you can see, hear, and touch, atmosphere is about how you feel. Wrigley is called the “Friendly Confines”. When you walk in the organ is playing, and there are people streaming in….families, schools classes, large groups of friends rolling in from one of the nearby watering holes. I used to love to watch the teams warm up and get my scorecard ready to track balls, strikes and outs.

May be it is their story

There is a small part of ourselves that we see in a team like the Cubs. We work hard, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but we keep moving forward.  If the Cubs could keep at it year after year, why not the rest of us. “There is always next year”, was like some crazy, optimistic mantra that every Cubs fan had written on their heart. A belief in what could be…..even when it didn’t look like we could. We believed. And this year, that belief was rewarded.

And again, I realize that many of the things I am mentioning here are not exclusive to the Cubs. There are many wonderful organizations, around the world, looking to create experiences for those people who are loyal to the team. But as a leader, whether you are trying to create a great environment for your team….a great atmosphere and culture…..or you have a great story that tells everyone why we do what we do, we need to build trusting loyal teams. And if we do, and we give back to them and make a difference in their careers and lives, they can have that loyalty rewarded.

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

6 Phrases You’ll Always Hear From Confident Leaders – by Paolina Milana

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently – by Maria Popova

Status meetings are the scourge – by Jason Fried

Gratitude is about looking forward – by Laura Vanderkam

The 4 Weapons Of Exceptional Creative Leaders – by Charles Day

all the best, kevin