Manny Ramirez Is No Entrepreneur’s Friend

I would be guilty of a great disservice if I did not comment on the Manny Ramirez trade fiasco from last week. I’m going to reach a little to relate this to entrepreneurship, but please keep an open mind and come along. For those of you unfamiliar with Manny Ramirez, he is a future Hall of Fame baseball player with a history of discontent with his team, and over the past four years has made multiple trade requests; finally lucking out last Thursday ‘(July 31, 2008)’ by getting his wish when the Boston Red Sox traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A situation which reminds me of the book Good To Great by Jim Collins, a must read for any interested in entrepreneurship.

In Good to Great, Collins analyzes eleven great companies (as determined by specific criteria) and uses data research to determine which characteristics make great companies great. My favorite characteristic of great companies Collins identifies is the “First Who… Then What” team building strategy. In other words, great companies get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off, and then go. Manny Ramirez was on the Boston Red Sox bus for seven and a half seasons; it took this long for the Red Sox organization to realize Ramirez did not belong on their bus. At the beginning and throughout every baseball season the Red Sox attempt to assemble the best team by getting the right people on their bus and the wrong ones off. Luckily, Red Sox management realized that a team member on their bus, Manny Ramirez, did not belong. Manny Ramirez was causing problems in the clubhouse, which included pushing a Red Sox employee almost twice his age to the ground; he was the source of the Red Sox stalling bus. To reach their destination, the Red Sox chose to change the bus’ route by going from a power hitting American League group of individuals to a high performing five-tool group of teammates. Since the Red Sox threw Ramirez off the bus, and picked up Jason Bay to take his spot, the Red Sox have won four of five games. I do not see them slowing down anytime soon. Now the Red sox have the right people on the bus, and they are ready to go from a good baseball club to a great baseball team. Just like the Good to Great companies Jim Collins analyzes, sky’s the limit for the 2008 Boston Red Sox!


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