Name: Mike Trigg
Occupation: Investment Management
Mike, your introduction to “C” You In The Major Leagues was similar to a lot of people. Yet different. You invited Dayton to speak to your company, WCM Investment Management, which is how many people first hear about the foundation. But you’re not based here in Kansas City; you’re in California. What made you want to bring Dayton to Laguna Beach to speak with your group, which, coincidentally, was one year ago today?
Mike Trigg: As a lifelong Royals fan, I was obviously very familiar with the glory days, the dark times, and more recently the success under Dayton’s leadership. But it wasn’t until reading his book, More Than a Season: Building a Championship Culture, that I realized our firm had a lot in common with the journey he and the Royals have been on. Most people look at our firm today ($26 billion in assets under management, 39 dedicated employees that love what they do) and think we have it all figured out, but the truth is our road has been far from a straight line and it took us a lot longer than expected to get here. Sound familiar?
We also believe culture is what separates the good organizations from the great ones, and it’s what leads to sustainable success. Our firm’s core values are gratitude and fun. This post is too limited to discuss how these values drive us, but suffice to say we feel called to perform at a high level for one another and our clients. Knowing we’re ridiculously lucky, we also don’t take ourselves too seriously. I wanted to bring Dayton to Laguna Beach so we could learn about the values he believes are essential to success and how they’ve worked for him.
Your leadership team had an intimate breakfast meeting with Dayton on the morning of his talk. Part of that centered on the work “C” You In The Major Leagues is doing in the Kansas City community. You had done some research about the foundation beforehand, but what did you learn during that time about the work that CYITML does?
MT: First and foremost, Dayton is extremely passionate and engaged in the foundation. This isn’t a hobby for him, and I left believing “C” You In The Major Leagues is really just scratching the surface in terms of its potential. I also learned there is a lot more going on than the programs people can read about on the website. CYITML is constantly touching the Kansas City community in ways many people will never hear about. I was especially struck by a story Dayton told us about a family in crisis that the foundation was in the process of helping during his visit.
This may not pertain to the foundation, but what was the biggest message that you and the leadership team as a whole took from Dayton’s visit?
MT: That’s a really difficult question. If I were to base my answer based on what people still talk about the most, it was Dayton’s message about caring. He’ll be the first to tell you that the Royals aren’t smarter than anyone else and won’t outwork any other organization, but they can build a lasting advantage by caring more. That message really resonates with us because the same is true for investment management. We work in an industry filled with extremely bright, hard-working people. But if everyone is focused on the same things, it’s impossible to produce a different outcome. However, if we care more about our people, they are going to be more engaged in what they are doing and produce even better long-term results.
We also learned a great deal about leadership. The more you talk to Dayton, the more you realize — and he’ll admit — he’s a work in progress just like the rest of us. And the only way to get your people to improve constantly is to show them that you’re trying to do the same thing. It’s all about leading with grace and humility. One of my favorite parts from his book, which he brought up at breakfast, is the story about a minor-league coach stopping Dayton during a particularly tough time in Dayton’s life and telling him he needed to start “fighting on his knees.” That is such a great metaphor for how we should conduct our lives during the good times and bad, both in terms of how we manage ourselves and deal with others.
As a Kansas City area native, why do you feel the work that CYITML does is important in this community?
MT: Kansas City isn’t any different than other communities; there are lots of families and children that need help. CYITML is helping kids learn about the importance of applying moral principles to their lives while having fun at the same time. If we can help the adults of tomorrow be more intentional about that, we’ll all be better off.
Perhaps along those lines, you made a donation about a year ago, and to our surprise it was double what we were expecting. What spurred you to make it larger?
MT: Well, after spending a little time with Dayton, it’s difficult not to feel compelled to step up in a bigger way. I was also pretty touched at the time by some of the coverage of Yordano Ventura’s passing and the role Dayton played in the healing process. Like I said, to the extent we can play a very small role in helping CYITML touch more young people, we’re all in.
Of course, as a Kansas City guy and baseball fan, you’ve been following the Royals for several years. What’s your favorite Royals memory?
MT: It’s probably the 2014 Wild Card Game. In many ways, that game personifies what the Royals are all about and what it’s been like to be fan over the years. Success against great odds. Never giving up. Taking on the skeptics and proving them wrong. It’s a good thing I married a St. Louis Cardinals fan, because she got me through that game by pointing to the ups and downs of October baseball. But it was so fun to see the playoffs return to Kansas City and for the Royals to come out on top. Then Alex Gordon’s home run off Jeurys Familia in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series is also a great memory, as I was sitting right behind home plate. I remember it like yesterday.
Who was your hero growing up?
MT: I’m not sure I had a hero growing up, but there are certainly a number of people that I looked up to that have had a huge impact on my life. If I had to pick one, it would be my dad. Actually, one of the real treats of Dayton’s visit was that my dad got to join us at the breakfast. Like the rest of us, he was really impacted. In fact, he has since started to attend church regularly and hasn’t missed once since that day. There are so many great things about my dad, but most of all he’s a great example of someone that is constantly trying to get better. He’s a big believer that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. If that’s not the best quality a kid could ask from a dad, I don’t know what is.
What’s one thing you’d like people to know about “C” You In The Major Leagues?
MT: Getting involved with Dayton and CYITML is not only an opportunity to give back and support a great organization, but it’s going to make you and your team get better as well. Listening to Dayton’s journey has helped our people figure out ways to live our values in a more significant way. We’re grateful for that.