Monday, February 02, 2004

The Culture of Winning

A while back, I wrote up a short book proposal. The idea of the book I had (and still have) in mind was straightforward; how do you exorcise the culture of defeat from the Boston Red Sox organization and from the soul of Red Sox nation? How do you reverse the curse?

The selling point was: this isn't a sports book, it's a business book. The Red Sox would serve as a metaphor for every enterprise that couldn't get it done. It struck me that the new owners and management of the Red Sox had spent a lot of time thinking about how to change the Red Sox culture of doom, and so by interviewing them and watching the 2004 season unfold, one could learn a lot about how one goes about actually changing a culture or, in the specific case, reversing a curse.

Watching the Patriots-Panthers game last night, I was struck (as was my friend Christina Novicki, who emailed me a version of this post earlier today) by how confident I was that the Patriots would ultimately prevail.

It never occured to me that Adam V. would miss that field goal with time running out, even though he had missed two chip shots earlier in the game. Had I been watching the final game of the ACLS, it would never have occured to me that the Red Sox would do anything but find a way to lose.

Same town, same media, same fan base (more Red Sox fans, obviously), different sport, different organizations. And completely different expectations.