Lessons from Dayton Moore, General Manager of the Kansas City Royals

Key learnings on Success, Culture and life

Our men’s group has been studying the book by Dayton Moore, “More than a season.”  I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found there to be many life lessons that are applicable at home at work and in my daily journey.  This past week we were lucky enough to have Dayton Moore speak to our men’s group. It was a surreal experience as he shared who he is, experiences that shaped him and his vision for life and the Kansas City Royals.Dayton Moore

Dayton’s talk ended up being a super inspirational conversation that I thought was worthy of compiling a few thoughts and sharing. As the father of 3 girls who grew up in small-town Colorado w/o the Rockies Baseball until I was in high school, I don’t consider myself much of a baseball fanatic. Like most people in Kansas City who could NOT catch Royals fever over the last three years!  I think I got a glimpse into why this ball club is having success. Listening to Dayton share experiences by the time he finished I was ready to check into spring training. Here are some of my key takeaways and life teachings that I took from his discussion

On Success

“Whoever manages failures best wins” I so appreciated his conversation around dealing with failure and hardships in life. I reflected over some of my past experiences, and when things are going well, I seem to “have it all together”. When I make mistakes and life throws the “proverbial curve-balls,” that’s when my character gets tested.  The lesson in this for me is to realize that we all have failures and that I need to manage through those failures and hardships keeping in mind the big picture.  To deal with those failures, I must rely on my faith and relationship in God to keep me grounded in the principles I want to stand for.

“Success is hidden in habits and daily processes” Dayton talked a lot about during the recruiting process and how they evaluate talent not only by what you see on the field but also habits and processes prospects go through behind the scenes.  I think this can be the same way in life. For me, setting the goal,   the resolution, or coming up with the big idea is the easy part.   Real value is in developing the systems and processes to ensure that I stick to it and develop the habits for the long term

On Culture

16 Dayton MooreDayton shared his perspective on the culture shift in 2013 of the Kansas City Royals, and they had built the environment that matched the vision.  When he talked about this, it reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Tipping Point”.   The book references connectors, epidemics and how ideas spread.  Ideas,  like culture,  need to be appealing and they need continual tweaking until they are accepted.  At the end of 2013,  the Royals found their tipping point; it started internally and then spread to the community and beyond!

We talk a lot about the culture in today’s workplace, but my takeaway was seeing how long it took the Royals organization to build a winning culture. Culture can’t change overnight, and it usually isn’t created with words but more so on follow through, daily actions, hard work, perseverance, and staying true to the vision.

“Selfishness is what kills an organization”  During postseason play this past year I found it interesting how so many of the players talked about the team and played so unselfishly during TV interviews. Leadership permeates a culture, and I could see how Moore’s words and actions over many years resulted in a team living out those words. I think every one of us in organizations need to do our parts to drive positive culture and focus on how we behave vs. what we say.  I need to say less continually and do more.

Personal lessons from Dayton Moore

“My team is at home” Dayton shared how his home team is his first/top team. He clearly defined that it is family first.  There have been many times in my life when I said my priorities are God, family, work but when it came time to execute those priorities showed up in a different order.   My goal is to continually to prioritize my home team including my wife and three little girls above any others and make sure they get my absolute best first!

“To be successful, forgive others and never quit.” While I have heard this many many times before and it seems pretty self-explanatory, I asked myself; do my actions show this?   Forgiving others is hard, but I need to get better at it and no matter how hard some things get never quit!

When it comes to young kids and sports, Dayton shared some valuable advice that resonated for me.  “It is not just about the game; it is about our time and discussion on the way to the event and how we unpack the game on the way home in the car.”   Kids know their  mistakes  but how can we use those teaching opportunities to talk about life and build the relationship with our kids.  As parents we can hope that  when they need us most, we are the first phone call they make.  A powerful lesson on building that relationship and trust with our kids.

Sometimes we hear, “good people finish last.” I’ve never sat down with Dayton Moore, but I can say after reading his book and listening to him and share perspective this is a guy that  “gets life.”  Not because he won a World Series but because he has a platform and he can articulate his views which positively impact others.   Dayton Moore demonstrates the leadership qualities as a  father and Christian man that I desire to emulate.


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