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Growing the Culture of Winning.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 17, 2018

No. 1,421

Pirate third baseman David Freese arrived at spring training and gave a candid answer to the question of the hour. What’s wrong with the Pirates?  He is quoted extensively this morning in the Post Gazette.  Here’s some of it:

“My opinion is I don’t think we lost 87 games because [Starling] Marte wasn’t there or [Jung Ho] Kang wasn’t there,” Freese said. “We lost 87 games because our environment doesn’t allow  [winning more]. I think that’s something we have to work on. I think it’s important to focus on the foundational components of what it takes to have a winning culture. I think this place kind of gets ahead of itself.

“They try to keep up with the way analytical stuff and all that is working. But man, you’ve got to have urgency. You’ve got to have accountability. You’ve got to have all these things. I’ve been here for two years, and we just kind of lacked in that department a little bit. We’ve got to pick that up.”

Every organization has a culture. Some are winning cultures.  Some are poison.  So how do you foster the winning one?

How do the members of a team change a losing culture to a winning one?  Or a mediocre culture to a winning one?

First, you have to want it. Then, you have to talk about it.  Then, you have to do something as a team. Teams win and lose together, you know.

As Freese says, you have to have a sense of urgency.  It isn’t enough to say that it would be nice to be a winning team.  There’s also a component of pride. How dare they call us losers?

“The three hours, man, when you’re in that dugout and on that field, it has to be about kicking some ass,” Freese said. “When you’re losing 10-2 in the pouring rain against Joe Maddon and you’re laughing, that’s not good. That says a lot. It’s not that hard to understand. You go out there and you have a job to do.”

Yes, its attitude, too.  Its saying to yourself, “I’m better than that.” Its refusing to accept the current level of performance because it can be better. In groups, this kind of change requires someone to lead — to lead us out of the wilderness.

The leaders give the cues by both words and action.  When Grant stayed in Virginia after the bloody battle of the Wilderness, he signaled to the troops that they were going to see that campaign through no matter how long it took.  Prior Union invaders had returned North to regroup after sustaining heavy casualties. But this was Grant and he had come to finish the job.

We talk about a high level of morale in armies like Grant’s.  But in many cases, morale preceded success. Commitment and dedication can thrive in the midst of hardship and suffering. It happens.  It can happen again.

Maybe Freese has starting something.  Time will tell.

And as for us, you and me — let’s get out there today and kick ass!




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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