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Winners Don't Stop Believing!


There’s nothing like a good World Series sweep to make you feel like you’re on top of the world—especially if you’re rooting for the winning home team. While I don’t mean to offend any Houston baseball fans out there, I can’t help feeling anything but proud over the White Sox win, and what better place to show my enthusiasm than in my own editorial.

It’s only been 88 years since the last White Sox win, so while the timing is good, I’m taking advantage of it. After all, what are the odds of it happening again for this Chicagoan! (I even won a bet with AIMCAL’s Ed Cohen!) What brought the Sox to the top is an interesting story that actually has application in our businesses.

The analysts have found great sport in philosophizing over why the Sox won. It’s widely known the Sox had no superstars—just hard-working, team-oriented players (picked by general manager Ken Williams). The players actually followed manager Ozzie Guillen’s instructions when they stepped up to the plate—even if it meant a sacrifice.

Ozzie’s a self-effacing guy with a down-to-earth management philosophy of his own. Once a shortstop himself for the White Sox, he knows the game from both sides. He left the series’ glory for the winning players, reminding sportswriters: Managers don’t win ball games, but they sure can lose them. Even most valuable player Jermaine Dye admitted there was a long list of players on the winning team who deserved MVP just as much as he, including first baseman Paul Konerko, third baseman Joe Crede, pitchers Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras, and rookie closer Bobby Jenks, or even infielder Geoff Blum or catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a real team at your converting operation, your business is in a rare league of its own. And if you’re heading a team like Ken Williams once was—still looking for the right combination of players—there’s a lesson to be learned from the White Sox.

There are a lot of parallels. As in the World Series, your goal is to be the best among your competitors. Now if you’re lucky enough to have the dollars behind your franchise like the Yankees or a Microsoft, you can buy a winning team. There’s little to stand in your way. But if all that’s keeping your team glued together are the dollars that attracted them in the first place, don’t you wonder if they have the same pride and loyalty (yes, I said the “L” word) that could bring a less prestigious but more team-oriented group of players to the same winning place in your company history? Such players’ loyalty is not to the team but to the dollars that brought them. Breeding pride and loyalty not only in themselves—but in each other—takes special managerial talent. I’m not convinced a fat paycheck can accomplish all that.

Take a look around you. As much as the media (and maybe a few of us) loves to hate Wal-Mart, 76% of its store managers came through the working ranks, scraping their way to responsible positions. That’s not to say this retailer doesn’t have some well-paid, highly trained, and educated corporate positions (and, conversely, some very low-paying jobs), but look at its success. Something else is going on there…no particular stars, just hard-working people with great pride in their personal and team achievements.

On another note, we’ve also experienced some wins in our industry in terms of our fall conference season. The Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) fall technical conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, October 16–19, voted best papers to Stefano Mancinelli of esseCI Srl on flame treatment technology and Dr. Peter Hockley of Plasma Quest Ltd. on the remote plasma sputter process.

On an especially sad note, Dale Fries of Active Labels, Waterloo, ON, Canada, and a member of the Tag & Label Mfrs. Inst., died in a car accident on the way to the association’s meeting in Las Vegas, NV, on October 18. The cab he was in hit a rain puddle in the road, causing it to hydroplane and roll. Dale died of massive head injuries. Suzanne Zaccone of Graphic Solutions nostalgically recalls, “He was a gentle giant and a beautiful man all around…. Especially to those like myself who were close to him, it just isn’t fair.”

Dale Fries was a believer and winner in his own right.

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To read more editorials by Yolanda Simonsis, visit our Editorial Archives.

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