Baseball, Cubs and leadership insight from DePaul sports management expert

For the first time, the lions outside of the Art Institute of Chicago are adorned with Cubs hats, as the team competes in the 2016 World Series.
For the first time, the lions outside of the Art Institute of Chicago are adorned with Cubs hats, as the team competes in the 2016 World Series. (DePaul University/Jon Cecero)
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CHICAGO — The success of a baseball club is not just defined by wins and losses, according to DePaul University sports management and marketing expert Andy Clark. 

“Baseball and business, business and baseball, they go hand in hand,” said Clark, director of sports management programs at DePaul's Driehaus College of Business. He explained that the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series due to strong leadership from chairman and owner Tom Ricketts and team manager Joe Maddon.

“The Cubs have built a winning team, in parallel lines, from a business perspective and a baseball perspective, which is why their success continues to grow both on the field and in the front office.”

From an overall organization standpoint they developed a big picture vision and worked on it slowly from the ground up to build on success of the previous year, noted Clark. “On the baseball side they established a strong farm system where they could grow and cultivate young players and they also invested in good scouts. The organization did something similar on the businesses side, where they hired an experienced human resources manager to look at how to invest in and grow their employees,” he said.

“Both Maddon and Ricketts are not afraid to make mistakes and they take chances on people who they think will be successful,” added Clark.
Andy Clark
Andy Clark, director of sports management programs at DePaul's Driehaus College of Business, discusses the Cubs leadership strategy on and off the field. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

According to Clark, Maddon manages with confidence. “He didn’t have to give his players a pep-talk for game six of the National League Championship series because he didn’t need to. His players knew what was expected of them and he had given trust to his veteran players to mentor the younger players. From a leadership perspective that is a pretty brilliant way to manage a team.”

Clark observed that in most interview settings Maddon comes across as confident, relaxed and respectful. “His attitude reflects on his players and that is also how leaders in the business world inspire the employees they manager,” he said.

“It sounds simple, but just being nice can really pay off in the way you develop your staff, even in the sports world,” said Clark. “You see that with Maddon, but also with Ricketts. In the lean years when his family first purchased the team, he didn't hide in the owner's booth when the Cubs were losing, he was always walking the concourses and aisles talking to the fans and handing out baseballs. Now that the team is winning he hasn't changed at all, he still friendly and approachable.”

To contact Clark visit his expert bio at
http://depaulne.ws/clark_info.

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Source:
Andy Clark
ACLARK32@depaul.edu
312-362-8113

Media Contact:
Jon Cecero
jcecero@depaul.edu
312-362-7640

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