Forget coming back from 3-1. Forget having the best team in the regular season. Forget extra innings. I'm a diehard Cubs fan, but for a moment, just a moment, let's look at what Joe Maddon did that so many "regular people" complain about every day on LinkedIn, blogs and twitter: Multi-generational work environments and managing millennials.
Maddon is 62 and works for a Gen Xer. The "old" guy is also managing a combination of millennials and Gen Xers (Montero, Ross, Lackey).
I say this all the time: it isn't about the generation, it's about finding the right people from every generation that are right for your culture.
There are a lot of 20-something superstars who wouldn't want to wear pajamas on a team trip. They're not on this team. There are plenty of 30-somethings that wouldn't like Javy Baez's crazy, goofy, sometimes-cocky attitude. The team knows it's from a love of the game. When a team has talent, that's one thing. When it's built around culture, it's different.
You can have older managers working for younger executives. You can have a group of millennials executing at a high level for a baby boomer. It's about having a plan and monitoring the culture. Bringing in the right pieces and knowing that culture is above all else.
Let's throw another thing into the mix. Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon are self-made men who worked their tail off to get to where they are, and who work for technically a second-generation family business.
I think Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is a genius. No doubt. But from 30,000 feet he and his siblings used their dad's money to buy a business. That doesn't always go over too well with the employees. But, the Ricketts hired smart people and let them do their jobs. Then they took all 200 people who work full-time for them to Cleveland. That's culture, and it all works because it starts from the top.
No one said, "We need a young manager." Any company or team just needs the right manager. Neither age nor generation matter. Vision, communication and attitude do.
I'm not saying the talent isn't important. It's crucial. However, we have seen too many teams bring in big-money players, and it doesn't work. Wrong person. Wrong coach. Wrong culture fit. Millennials are great. Gen Xers are great. Baby boomers are great. They just all aren't great for every environment.
Go Cubs. Next year is here!