The Yankees and the Youth Movement
Transitional Leadership in the Making
Trill or Not Trill?
I admit it. I’m one of those Yankee fans who grew up with the expectation that the Yankees have a right to the World Series. I grew up with the likes of the Core 4, the 90s dynasty and the 100+ winning teams of the early 2000s. I also admit that on September 7th 2014, I cried when Derek Jeter gave his retirement speech at Yankee stadium. Flash forward to 2015 and the Yankees are a team in transition. Gone are the days when the Boss would throw monumental amounts of money at aging superstars to try and merge with a veteran core group of players to try and catch lightning in a bottle to win. The plan seems rather straight forward nowadays: Return to the notion of developing young, homegrown superstars while making common sense trades and free agent signings to compliment. The Yankees are looking towards the future as opposed to now. As it so happens, this can directly relate to how student leaders can build their club to ensure sustainability and success!
Target the first year students
The key to your org’s survival is to have students to continue your legacy once you graduate. First year students are prime picking to excite and encourage them to join. It’s proven that engagement is a major factor for retention of new students and your club could be the reason why they stay enrolled. Plus, you can build them up to take over e-board positions. The Yankees were so successful during their most recent run of championships mostly in part due to the focus on homegrown baseball players which were taught the skills and values that the organization stood for.
Transfer students belong too
In theory, signing of free agents and trades for players from other teams are used to complement the collective skill set of the group. Players from other teams have different experiences that can bring a certain spark to the organization. Transfer students can reinforce your club by bringing in their knowledge of leadership from other institutions. Transfer students usually have a list of requirements to fulfill before graduating, so they too can play a role in the future of your club. Often times, transfers have professional/real-life experiences that can assist with networking! Brian Cashman, the General Manager of the New York Yankees excels (mostly) at finding the right pieces to the puzzle to complete his teams, especially during the middle of the season. Spring semester transfer students can fit right in to a club that is already firing on all cylinders!
Recognize and develop your general members
Quite often, it’s that minor league or bench player that’s brought up last minute that makes an immediate impact. They may not be all-stars but play their role well. Recognize those members of your organization that may not be on the e-board, but perform at high levels. Don’t be hesitant to speak with them, gauge their goals and interests and encourage them to apply for positions during election time. The Yankees wouldn’t have made it as far as they did this year without the immediate production of starting pitcher Luis Severino and first baseman Greg Bird. After the veterans were injured, Joe Girardi recognized the value of these “baby bombers” and made them starters on a play-off contending team.
Encourage a sense of community
One of the many highlights of previous Yankee manager Joe Torre’s illustrious career was that he knew how to inspire his team. Mr. Torre also knew how to manage personalities and help fuse together a team that had very different individuals. As student leaders and executive board members, you must be able to do the same. You never want to fall into a situation where it’s “us vs. them”, or make newer members feel like they don’t belong. Be aware of using language such as “Well last year…” or “This is how it has been done”. Be sure to recognize that new energy and ideas can only contribute to the success of your club. Veteran student leaders won’t be around forever, and if newer members are pushed out, what does that say about the legacy of the organization and your leadership?
The New York Yankees are the most storied franchise in sports. With 27 World Series titles, they know a thing or two about sustained success and leaving a legacy. Perhaps more now than ever, they are recognizing that time has passed and those that maintained a high level of play for so long have moved on in some way shape or form. The continued success of the organization depends on how well Yankees leadership can recruit, develop and promote young players while trading for and signing talent that fits into the puzzle. As student leaders, you too must keep an eye to the future and realize that what is crucial to the success and the legacy of your organization lies within the students surrounding you and those that come after.
Scott Siegel-Ortiz is a well-rounded higher education professional with over 8 years of dedication to the development and success of students. His passion for making an impact knows no boundaries and is constantly striving to reach the next level while encouraging his students to do the same. Scott also loves long walks down the aisles of Target and likes to post lots of pics of his cats on social media.