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What Can We Learn from the Chicago Cubs about Building a Winning Team?

Angela Leffler
Published November 4, 2016


After 108 long years, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series Title. Can we sit and assess exactly why the long drought? Actually, yes, we can. For most of those 108 years, the Cubs didn’t have a strong team. However, in 2016 they certainly did.

Hiring isn’t much different than building a baseball team, although we obviously look for different skill sets. Today, we judge each candidate based on their hard skills (where they went to school, work experience, GPA, etc.) and confirm a decision based on how well the candidate can answer questions in an interview. Unfortunately, businesses use this approach because it’s been used for decades. By the same token, we see turnover rates increasing, company cultures being negatively affected and time wasted.

Today, there is a shift happening where a greater emphasis is placed on building strong teams and cultivating a positive culture. Businesses are realizing the true impact team dynamics can have on the success of a group. We’ve heard it before, the success of a team is dependent on it’s weakest link. As we have seen with the Chicago Cubs, teams that succeed can cohesively work together, communicate, and balance each other’s strengths. 

So I ask you, is only judging hard skills really the best way to approach building a strong team?

In a recent article by CBC news, they highlight how in baseball we are starting to see a shift in how teams are built. They are using so-called “soft-skills” as a metric combined with those hard skills. The Chicago Cubs are known to screen their players for things like character and personality.

What if companies hired for the key traits needed within a job such as leadership, stability, the ability to adapt quickly to new situations etc.? Judging candidates on things like character and personality. Not just focus on a persona’s GPA, job history or how much of a likable person they are in the interview. 

Identifying a candidate’s soft skills is not hard to do, it is just challenging to accurately determine what they are. Companies need to up their game to be able to source out their top candidates through a combination of both their soft and hard skills. We talk about ways to do this in a recent blog post titled, Are Soft Skills in Short Supply or Do You Need to Up your Game?

Building strong teams by assessing both hard and soft skills works… and it can result in a world series title.

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