Sunday, April 18, 2010

Respecting Babe’s House

We went to the New York Yankees – Texas Rangers game this weekend in the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Yep – home of the Bronx Bombers. The House that Babe built. Wait a minute. We were in the new stadium and walked by the demolished remains of the old stadium that Babe built in 1923.

I will say up front that I understand many people have an affinity to the old stadium and the many important things happened there. That as a given, I thought the designers and builders of the new stadium did an outstanding job respecting the past and incorporating it into the design while providing a world class, modern sporting venue.

It made me think that evening about what a leader’s role is when they follow a legend into the position. It is likely the team loved your predecessor and they were not looking for someone new. In a situation like this, it would seem the best approach would be the same as the new Yankee Stadium. Incorporate the history and best elements of the past, speak well about what was and the future that will be, and go boldly to a new place.

What lessons can you share about following a great leader into a position?


Ed Callahan said...

For the record - it's the Bronx BOMBERS, not Boomers. I grew up in the Bronx and used to take the IRT subway about 4 stops, for $.15 I might add, to get into the stadium for a $5.00 bleacher seat. It was great!

Crusader AXE versus the carnivorous, dwarf ducks said...

There are two ways to be a hero. One is to be a hero, which is hard. The other is to follow an idiot. That's the more common practice.

jimmy barrows said...

baby boomer-babe boomer-bronx boomers, bronx bombers

Cynthia J. Starks said...

John -- this is a very nice and thoughtful piece. I don't have any observations to make about the situation of following a legend, but it put me in mind of how hard Lyndon Johnson had it trying to follow JFK...

I'm also a big Yankees fan!!

Nathan Parker said...

This is an interesting observation. Recently our senior management changed from someone with a long and distinguished legacy. While everyone perceived the transition to be a time of drastic changes, I think the new leader did all the right things. She made it clear that she wasn't going to turn our world's upside down with drastic changes, and only build upon her predecessor's successes. She took the time to truly go out and and understand what is going on, and slowly but surely build respect and rapport with the new organization.

I was initially nervous because of the uncertainty of the situation (which is inherent in any big change like this), everyone seems to have settled down quite nicely, mainly because of effective communications of intentions, and a slow, yet progressing trust in the organization.

Edward Valverde said...

Mr. Bishop, Nicely written short recognizing and respecting the past as one forges forward into the future. As a native New Yorker, the reference to Yankee Stadium, old and new, is fondly appreciated. One small correction, however: Bronx Bombers is the Yankees nickname (not Boomers), though your version has a more positive ring...

Howard R. Berger said...

John you make an excellent point. Too many times when a new person takes command they feel the need to "start everything with a clean slate" or "Clean House". Even in organizations that weren't quite living up to their complete potential doesn't it make sense to take stock of what you do have in place? Sometimes a little tweeking is all that is needed to get the job done. As the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission so aptly taught us, sometimes we have no choice but to work with that which we already have to find our solutions. Imagine if the engineers had simply thrown up thier hands and said, "It's hopeless!". The whole crew would have been lost. Yet they didn't and we brought them back alive and well. Great lesson there for today's leader's and so too in the New Yankee Stadium. The old one served them for so many years and so well and by making use of great tradition and combining it with newer and better construction, hopefully the newer one will last all the longer.

Suman Parthasarathy said...

Hi John, certain things need to be preserved and certain things need to be replenished and certain other things need to be changed. The stadium to me is the replenished version keeping the spirit of the original intent to show the love of the game!
When great leadership is shown, it is important to carry on the spirit of the leadership and preserve the reputation and expections from the leader in the position. Ofcourse, everything depends on the definition of leadership

Greg Waite said...

As a long suffering Cubs fan, I cannot fully grasp the metaphor. Winning is foreign and unknown.

For us, this would be like taking over not from a legend, but from a leader who previously never showed up for work and fumbled his way through each passing day (a pretty easy task, so it would seem).

Sorry. Couldn't resist...

Jared Boeke said...

And what happens when you are unfamiliar with the previous leadership, or unfamiliar with what made the team great? How does new leadership go boldly forward without incorporating the best elements of the team's past?

Jared Boeke said...

And what happens when you are unfamiliar with the previous leadership, or unfamiliar with what made the team great? How does new leadership go boldly forward without incorporating the best elements of the team's past?

Scott Prentiss said...

Hello John-
I would propose that the answer is closer than you think. Your University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball team is a shining example of how players can follow greatness and establish their own legend. The 1995 team won with a record of 35-0, and no one thought that could ever be topped. The team went on to a record setting 69 straight wins in 2000-2004. And since the last game of 2008, the team has now gone onto a 78 game winning streak and two National Championships. To answer your question, you follow greatness with a higher level of greatness. In the immortal words of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox player Kevin Millar, it is time to “Cowboy up”.
Enjoy, it was great having this discussion.

From the Wikipedia Women's Basketball Main article:

Connecticut Huskies women's basketball
Playing Facility: Gampel Pavilion & XL Center
Head Coach: Geno Auriemma
Most Victories: 39 in 2002, 2009, 2010
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 22
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2010
Undefeated Seasons: (4) 1995, 2002, 2009, 2010
National Championships: (7) 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010
Final Fours: (11) 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010
Big East Regular Season Championships: (18) 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Big East Tournament Championships: (16) 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
All-Americans: 11 (19 appearances), including Maya Moore, only the 2nd freshman nationally named an All-American
National Players Of The Year: 6
Drafted Players: 19
Players in the WNBA: 15 (+1 on leave)
Basketball Hall Of Famers: 1
Only Woman's basketball program to have had every game in a season televised, an annual feat since the 1994–1995 season.

(ref. - )

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