When I picked up the paper and saw that the New York Yankees has won their 27th championship all I could think of was sustained excellence. Literally since I was an athlete in high school and vaguely entertaining the thought of coaching sustained excellence has been a fascination for me. There was a school in our league, Santa Clara High School, that year in year out was dominant in football and basketball. I used to look at them and wonder why they were able to do that? My freshman year in college one of teammates had played at Santa Clara so we talked about it. Listening to him it was apparent leadership was a key, a great coach who set a high level of expectation and discipline, but also leadership from the players. They shared to common goal and invested in themselves. Look at UCLA basketball under John Wooden, De La Sale High School football, the New Zealand All Black’s in rugby, they all share common traits. Their success is not magic. It is sound organization, leadership, talent is important, but teams that are consistently successful have a method for identifying and developing talent that fits their system. System is a key word, but with regard for the individual. You can bet that this morning the Yankee organization is meeting to figure out what they need to do to be in the same place next year.
It is interesting to compare the Yankees and the Mets. When I worked for the Mets their motto that year was: “Relentless Pursuit of Excellence,” I could not help but compare what I had seen over the years of the Yankees at all levels, they did not pursue excellence, they demanded excellence from top to bottom. Championships are part of their DNA, just like other teams and individuals that are able to sustain excellence.