Excellence in Strategy Execution- Bochy Ball

One month ago, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy proved bold strategy execution is THE reflexive muscle for attaining a strategic vision. By dropping pitcher Barry Zito from the active duty roster, Bochy keyed in on an organizational weakness that threatened to weaken the team into the post season. Even though Zito was the highest paid player on the team, the change was made—and it was not influenced by seniority or salary-driven status.

After all, they had a season to conquer and Zito’s numbers told the story. He was simply not performing to expectation.

So, yes, Zito still got paid $18,000,000 for the season regardless, but he also sat out on the most important post-games of the season. It could have been disastrous if Zito would have let his ego interfere, but he didn’t. He knew the decision could have been controversial, yet Zito supported Bochy. “I stand behind Bochy, he’s the skipper,” said Zito. Further into the post season, he remained as solid. “My heart and soul is in this clubhouse. I have no other options for myself than to pull for every one of these guys.”

As Inder Sidhu, senior vice president of strategy and planning for Cisco points out, even the legendary superstars of Giant’s past could not have produced the combination of team cohesion and individual excellence that the 2010 Giants have. We agree. Bochy’s decision made a direct impression to those left on the roster: Those who execute best stay. Zito’s decision made a direct contribution to his teammates: None of us is as important as all of us.

Neither example would have had the same intensity of impact without the other. Egos were checked. Talent was empowered. The vision was cohesive. Performance ensued. What can be any more relevant for organizational strategic leadership and management?

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