Sunday, October 14, 2012

What Association Executives Can Learn From St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals celebrate beating Washington Nationals in Game 5 of NLDS.
With a 2-out, 6-run come-from-behind win over the Washington Nationals in the 2012 baseball playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals rekindled images of their improbably 2-out, 2-strike come-from-behind Game 7 win to capture the 2011 World Series.Just last week (before the Cardinals playoff win), Jason Selk posted a story in Forbes called What Business Professionals Can Learn from the St. Louis Cardinals.  

Here are the highlights from his post:
  • In regards to the St. Louis Cardinals’ wild card slot and momentum toward the 2012 World Series, manager Mike Matheny said this about his team, “They believe they can do it, and that’s hard to stop.” 
  • 20 years ago, I heard the statement, “You are what you think you are.” 
  • Jack Welch, (former) CEO of General Electric, uses this idea in his leadership. He states, “The essence of competitiveness is liberated when we make people believe that what they think and do is important – and then get out of their way while they do it.” He has also been quoted as saying, “Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act.”
  • Confidence is home grown.
  • Sam Walton, founder and CEO of Wal-Mart said, “High expectations are the key to everything.”
After the 2011 World Series victory, I wrote about 3 Association Leadership Lessons from World Series Champs

The three lessons are:
1. Never give up
2. Work as a team
3. Trust your younger generation

While the fate of the 2012 Cardinals could change in the series against the San Francisco Giants or in the World Series, the lessons of the 2011 Cardinals and the current 2012 Cardinals remain.

And, serve as great guides for association executives.


  1. Two additional lessons:
    A strong organization may lose a strong leader (Tony LaRussa),but there is another strong person to follow (Mike Matheney)

    A strong organization does not build around one strong member (Albert Pujos) and when a strong member leaves there is a wonderful opportunity for others to show their talents (fill in your choice of Cardinal player here).

  2. Thanks Tom,

    Those are both excellent additions to my thoughts!

    For my friends in the DC-area, my post wasn't meant as a "dig" about the Washington Nationals. Your great team put up an awesome defense against the Cardinals ... but the experience and these 5 lessons overcame.