Although we’re a few days late, we need to congratulate the founder and executive director of the C You In the Major Leagues Foundation, Dayton Moore, who was selected as the 2015 winner of the Esurance MLB Award for Best Executive. The ceremony was held earlier this month during baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
This award has been nine years in the making for Dayton and the Royals. See, for many of us, whether through blind faith or just knowing Dayton, we felt the day would come when the Kansas City Royals would get back to postseason baseball. Little could we have imagined in the summer of 2006, when he became the general manager, that the Royals would reach the World Series in two (so far) consecutive years and win the second world championship in the club’s history.
From where I’m sitting, there are three main reasons the Royals were so close to a World Series title in 2014 and then won it in 2015, and all three reasons relate to MLB’s 2015 executive of the year.
- Trickle-down effect: It all starts at the top. Whether that means with owner David Glass or on the baseball side with Dayton. Obviously Mr. Glass and his son, team president Dan Glass, saw something in Dayton when they hired him during the 2006 season to become the club’s general manager. But then they didn’t make any quick-draw decisions when things didn’t seem to be going to plan on the field in the first few years. It’s important to give them credit, of course, but then it’s on Dayton’s shoulders. And shoulder it he did. He came up with a plan to turn things around for Kansas City, and then he stuck with his plan. I’m sure it wasn’t always easy, but he was convicted in what he believed. That conviction carried down to the rest of the scouting and baseball operations departments, to the coaches and managers, and then to the players. Good, successful leaders have a way of envisioning the correct course and then sharing their passion with everyone below them.
- The right people in the right spot: In the case of Dayton, it was a matter of hiring the right people for the right spots, and then giving them the support and resources to do their jobs. Two of my favorite people to interview during the writing of More Than A Season were Gene Watson, the Royals’ director of professional scouting, and coach Rusty Kuntz. Besides being great storytellers and incredibly positive men, each one is very good at what he does. And each one was in the perfect spot at the perfect time for the success of the Royals. For instance, if it weren’t for Gene Watson, the trade that brought James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City might not have happened. If it weren’t for Rusty Kuntz, Alex Gordon may not have become an outfielder, let alone a four-time Gold Glove winner and Platinum Glove winner. (You’ll need to read the book to get more details.)
- Everyone performing their best at the best time: It’s easy to point to the Royals players and say they won because everyone was performing their best throughout the postseason. That’s not entirely true — some guys played better during the 2014 postseason — but each one was critical at some point during the postseason for the Royals to win. That idea’s not limited to the field, though. Throughout the last nine years, it’s been important for people throughout the Royals organization to be performing their best to help the team get to this point of success.
Here’s the funny thing as I look at that list: as much as those attributes apply to Dayton Moore and the Royals winning the 2015 World Series, those three keys apply to all of us, whether in our jobs, our churches, or our homes. As a husband and a father to three children, those three attributes are important for our family to be “successful.” If I’m a lousy husband and father (as I sometimes can be), and not trying to help us with these three characteristics, we won’t be as happy; we won’t be as loving; we won’t be as respectful. The same can be said if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, the night manager at a fast-food restaurant, or a youth minister at a church.
If your organization or church had an Esurance Award for Best Executive, would you be in the running for it?
(By the way, if you want to read more about Dayton Moore winning the award, you can click here.)