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The Turnaround Artist

August 31, 2011 — Leave a comment


What can we learn about business from The Minnesota Twins?


I learned a few great business ideas from a recent article in Entrepreneuer Magazine. In the early 2000’s Jim Pohlad inherited The Minnesota Twins a major league baseball franchise that was failing. In the beginning of Pohlad’s tenure The Twins had poor attendance, were not winning and had a stadium that was one of the worst facilities in baseball. Pohlad, now touted as a hero, began running the team like a small business. He shared 5 ideas that could be guidelines for every small business owner. These are 5 ideas that saved the franchise. In the turn around Pohlad has made them one of the most successful franchises in baseball today.


1)    Identify Your Strengths


Pohlad knew that they did not have the luxury of a huge budget. Big market teams could spend their way out of their mistakes by acquiring big market, highly paid players. The Twins were going to have to be efficient and develop their talent from within. This is a slower but more sustainable strategy that could be managed and controlled.


2)    Offer A Unique Experience


Pohlad worked with the Minnesota State Legislature to get a new state of the art facility built. Target Field allows fans to have an experience that transcends the baseball game itself. He has focused on creating environments to enjoy local food, shopping venues and luxury boxes. He has created a unique experience that keeps people coming back and wanting to spend their money.


3)    Connect With Your Customers


The Twins have managed to keep their players accessible to their fans. Players are accessible to the fans through promotional days and fun events. Throughout this period they have continued to have numerous affordable seating options. These ideas have created one of the most loyal groups of fans in all of sports.



4)    Remain Loyal To Your Employees


The Twins have a startling number of employees who have been with the franchise for 20+ years. During tough times senior management has hung in there and not jumped ship to other franchises, thus sending a powerful message throughout the organizations ranks.


5)    Know When It’s Time To Act Like A Big Business


Over the years there have been numerous  franchise type players who were not resigned to larger contracts. However, Pohlad knew that when Joe Mauer’s contract was up for renegotiation that he could not let him slip away. Mauer is a local icon-a three sport star at a local high school and numerous professional awards. This was a moment that Pohlad couldn’t disappoint the fans. He had to retain this player to build his franchise around. This decision resulted in retaining Mauer to an eight year, $184 million deal (something that any small business owner couldn’t imagine) but the timing was right.


“Nothing is so successful that it can’t be mis-managed. If you lose sight of what you’re doing, it could be here today and gone tomorrow.” 


– Jim Pohlad, Owner of The Minnesota Twins



Jim Pohlad has turned the Twins franchise around leaving his mark on an organization, city and generations of fans.


Could your organization learn from these 5 Ideas? What are some other great small business ideas?


Thanks and credit to Bruce Schoenfeld for the original article in Entrepreneuer Magazine, August 2010.


Last night, I was the organizer for a Catalyst Meetup. The Catalyst Meetup concept is an informal way for individuals who want to connect with other likeminded leaders in their area. To connect with the intent of developing their leadership skills, networking and sharing their faith. We met at a great coffee and dessert shop, Café Intermezzo. The group that attended is totally excited about creating our next Meetup. Listed below are the 5 things that I loved about attending the Catalyst Meetup.


1)      The Energy

The excitement that was present in the group was contagious. I am writing this the day after our Meetup and am still energized from the people that I met. The group that attended was mostly younger than me (quite a bit) and they were full of creativity and energy. Their energy and creativity will push me and allow me to be more effective in my faith and in business.


2)      Brilliant Content

The content for this Meetup was developed by Andy Stanley so there is no doubt that it is brilliant and inspiring. I learned so much as I was preparing for facilitating the discussion centered on Andy’s message. Whenever I lead I always benefit so much personally. Considering the engaging discussion, brilliant content coupled with the practical application I am certain that the group gleaned value as well.


3)      Accountability

One of the best parts of a Meetup is the accountability that comes from networking with other Christian leaders. Practical application will always be a part of the teaching content within a Meetup, at least if I am leading. It is important to have great ideas that you can immediately implement. Last night we encouraged each person in attendance to pull out there cell phone and text a friend this message” I have something important to talk about with you, call me tomorrow.” This opens the door for them to have a conversation about some area of life that they are struggling with or an area that they need to be held accountable. Practical application to accountability is good.


4)      Relationships

I met inspiring people at this Meetup that I would have otherwise never met.  Friendships were started that will continue to blossom due to having the same motivations and beliefs. These relationships will have opportunities to blossom through future events. The future events could be through Catalyst Conferences, Catalyst Oneday Events, Meetups or serving together in other ways. Relationships with great people are powerful and you can never have too many of them.


5)      Development

There is virtually limitless content available on leadership. There is even a large amount available on Christian leadership principles. However, it typically comes from reading a book or watching a DVD. These formats have little personal interaction and relationship building which may not be suited for everyone’s personal learning style. Conferences, classes and seminars can be opportunities for leaders to learn and interact with others. However, cost and time can prohibit people from attending. The Meetup concept eliminates these hurdles and provides interaction, learning, personal development, relationship building with other leaders etc. etc. for absolutely NO COST and very little time commitment.


The content for the Meetup was Andy Stanley’s message to the 14,000 leaders who attended the 2010 Catalyst East Conference. The message was titled, The Tension Is Good. I have attached my personal notes that I took while I listened to Andy Stanley’s message.


Click Here to link to my personal notes.

Could you benefit from connecting with other Christian leaders?


Would you consider attending our next Catalyst Meetup?


Stay Current

August 23, 2011 — Leave a comment

People are often asking me what I read for business. Well, I read a great deal of books and publications and am quite flattered that people would care enough to ask. I have begun to post my reading list on LinkedIn. Typically the LinkedIn reading lists are geared more toward books than frequent publications. Maybe I will dedicate a future post which is devoted to my favorite publications.

I recently found a great on-line resource for staying current on a daily basis. It is very important as an advisor to stay current in what is happening in business, world events, technology, politics etc etc. Yet it isn’t always convenient to sit and read The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal, Business Investors Daily, Entreprenuer Magazine, Money Magazine, Research articles, Morningstar Reports every day. The great service that I mentioned is from Business Insider. They have a subscriber service which delivers a daily e-mail to your inbox with the exact news that you find relevant. The service allows you to tailor which e-mails you want ranging in topics from Technology, Entreprenuers, Markets, Travel, Politics, Sports, Breaking News, Google Investor and many more. The e-mail/article formats are simple as well with titles such as:


10 Things In Tech You Need To Know
10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell
20 Things That We Learned From (insert recent current event)
8 Best Apps To Download

I love the quick and easy nature of always having current information in my inbox as well as conveniently located in my smartphone. Plus the expansive list of topics that you can choose from based on your personal interests. A great resource which is entirely FREE!


Register Here at Business Insider

How do you stay current?


I challenge you to sign up and comment below about your initial experience!