A ‘Royal’ Learning in Company Communications

Party like it's 1985...the last time the Kansas City Royals made the playoffs.  (Photo via crowncrazed.com)

Party like it’s 1985…the last time the Kansas City Royals made the playoffs. (Photo via crowncrazed.com)

The Kansas City Royals hold the longest playoff drought in professional sports. Their last playoff appearance? The magical season of 1985 when they won the World Series. Sure, there are off years, but an off quarter-century?

But what has fans in the Heartland most frustrated – in the eighth year of General Manager Dayton Moore’s eight-year plan of turning the Royals into a playoff contender – is the continual preaching of “patience” by the organization. This goes along with other messaging miscues just like the scouting, free agent, or player development head-scratchers that seem to coincide with our boys in blue.*

So when trying to turn around an organization, take these into account…and you’ll have better luck improving your perception among both internal and external audiences:

  • Be positive, but don’t proclaim premature victory. At the end of 2013, Moore stated that he felt “like we’ve won the World Series” after not even making the playoffs. As a leader, avoid making false statements, as well as ones that are either laughable or that damn near don’t even make any sense. This is why you don’t hear companies cheer victory when they miss their quarterly numbers…not even by a little bit.
  • Be optimistic, but don’t overpromise: K.C. has been hearing about the great potential of its core group of players. Only problem is they’re not producing…or hitting home runs…or providing run support. There’s a reason the phrase “Under-promise and over-deliver” has been working in the business world for years; realistic expectations are set and both parties benefit when these expectations are exceeded.
  • Be a planner, but the proof is in the pudding: If your best results of a nearly decade-long plan are, at best, average – as in a .500 ball club – either the plan wasn’t that great to begin with or this is the best the plan will produce. Either way, expect your audience to demand better results, especially your shareholders. Want an eight-year plan comparison? The tenure of Royal’s GM Dayton Moore’s began in 2006. So did Twitter.

Someday, those in the “city of fountains” hope the Royals will again sit atop the throne of the baseball world. After all, if the Red Sox can end an 86-year title drought, anyone can do it. (Although it could be worse, just ask the Chicago Cubs; they’re still cursed by a goat.) They just hope pop singer Lorde isn’t right and that they’ll “never be royals” like they were in the late 1980s. At least use the lessons above and give it to your organization straight…like a nice four-seam fastball right down the middle.

 

*For regular updates on the conundrum that can be the Kansas City Royals, do yourself a favor and follow K.C. Star columnist Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) and Dermatologist by day/Royals prognosticator by night Dr. Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli).

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