Chicago Cubs: Epstein fights technology for teamwork
Epstein and business leaders across the nation are all facing the same time-killing, ankle-biting, personnel-sucking, attention-grabbing crisis called the ‘personal cell phone’. It’s right there on top of most desks during business hours and will get called or messaged during the work day, often several times.
These personal digital interruptions cause regular staff to disappear from the workplace and reappear outside with the office smokers. Imagine if that happened during practice on the field? How do you tell players to stay off their devices during practice but then gripe that they are on them right ‘after’ practice, instead of having a beer?
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It seems Epstein is more a victim of technology than lack of teamwork. When Epstein came to the Cubs from the Boston Red Sox in 2011, technology had not come as far as it has today.
The Red Sox teams during Epstein’s tenure were more “Brady Bunch” teammates. Although a large organization, the Sox did most things together and that sense of teamwork was evident from practices to games to championships.
Today, many teams have learned how to bridge that technology divide and turn their clubs into “teams” with the type of ‘team-focus’ Epstein is calling for. We’ve seen real teamwork this year in the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers. Let’s not forget our friends in Boston who won the World Series last year; the world already had the iOS 11.1 at that time. If these teams can ‘get over their phones’, why can’t the Cubs?
When Epstein came to Chicago organization it took almost four years to build that type of team spirit or identity before the Cubs were ready for their appearance on the big stage in 2016. Now Epstein wants the Cubs to ‘come together’ and is expecting the new manager to put an emphasis on it. Will a new manager be able to pull that off in a single season? What type of teamwork is Epstein calling for?