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'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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