Lessons Learned From Branch Rickey

You may not have heard of Branch Rickey, but he was a very important person in baseball history; as well as in US history.

65 years ago on this date, Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In so doing, he broke through baseball’s color barrier.

Given the date, I decided to look into what else we could learn from Rickey since he clearly taught the baseball world a very important lesson.

Here are a couple of quotes from Rickey, along with my thoughts on how to apply them:

If things don’t come easy, there is no premium on effort. There should be joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit.”

  • My take: Rickey clearly showed that you shouldn’t always follow the easy road or give in to the status quo. But this quote also demonstrates how powerful and energetic it can be to strive for a goal. That’s why it’s critical for leaders to identify and communicate a clear and compelling vision — infusing this passion into every employee.

The man with the ball is responsible for what happens to the ball.”

  • My take: You need to prepare and train to do whatever needs to get done when the ball is in your hands. Whoever is dealing with a customer has to understand that they are the company; there’s noone else responsible for that relationship at that moment in time. And, you only get one chance to do the right thing on that play.

The bottom line: Thank you Branch Rickey.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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