A Chance Encounter with Great Leadership at a Cubs Game

You ever know where you will find inspiration, whether that be with a patient, at the grocery store or at a baseball game. I recently attended a conference in Chicago where I visited my cousin Charlie. He invited me out to a Cubs game and a meal at Captain Morgans before the game. Charlie’s wife, Connie, recently took a front office job with the Cubs working with their philanthropic arm. 

As we walked to our seats I was shocked to find we were sitting 3 rows off the field next to the Cubs dugout. I’ve never been that close to the field so I was like a kid in a candy shop. I must confess I am not really a baseball fan but being that close how could I not be! It was a miserable night for a game, raining, in the 50s and the Cubs lost the lead early on several errors. It didn’t matter to me as I watched the players warm up in the batters box before taking their chance at the plate.

During that time the new owner of the Cubs, Tom Ricketts, came down to the section and spoke with people, shaking hands and thanking well wishers for being there. He was gracious with his time while people snapped pictures of him and asked him to sign hats. He then sat next to me as Connie and Charlie engaged him in conversation.

He talked about the game, clearly a knowledgeable fan, the team, the fans and the stadium. He mentioned that he takes the time during every home game to pass out baseballs, specially stamped with the date to the young fans around the park. He also recounted details of each player as he went up to bat. He spoke of their specific personality, good qualities and potential for growth in the organization.

Prior to sitting down Connie had related the 3 priorities of the new owner; win a World Series, renovate Wrigley field and invest in the community. I thought what a great leader, simple priorities easily understood by all. When I actually had a chance to meet him I was even more impressed.

I’m sure there were other places he could be sitting than in the rain watching the game. I’d surmise he must have a pretty nice box, with sufficient amenities to be comfortable and dry. Instead he chose to sit in the stands with the fans and allow many interruptions to the game as he signed autographs and took pictures.

I sometimes wonder what people think of us as leaders; whether that is in the clinical department taking care of patients or helping to lead a company. If their impression is half as good as the one I took away after meeting Tom Ricketts I would consider myself a very good leader indeed.