It All Comes Back to Talent

“I’m forever asked if I was an engineer or geologist, but my technical training was as a CPA. I’m somebody who can pick talent, encourage it and reward it, and keep it. I’m stronger at that than anything, and that’s what we’re applying to the baseball team.”
– Bob Simpson, Majority Owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team in Baylor Magazine (Spring 2012)

Little did I know when I was reading the article in my Baylor alumni magazine on all of the university’s connections to the Texas Rangers that I would stumble across such profound insights related to leadership and talent management. My thanks to author Lane Murphy for including this fantastic quote.

Here’s the context …

Bob Simpson, a Baylor graduate, is Co-Chairman of the Board of the Texas Rangers. He partnered with Chuck Greenberg, hall of fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and others, to purchase the organization out of bankruptcy court in August 2010. Prior to that, Simpson founded XTO Energy, “the largest oil and natural gas company in America,” according to the article in Baylor Magazine. In 2009, XTO was sold to ExxonMobil.

So if we unpack Simpson’s quote above, several nuggets stand out:

  • People assume his success was predicated on deep technical skills. Not true! He credits his success to his ability to identify and develop talent in his organizations, whether in the energy industry or professional baseball. Do you put as much emphasis on developing your talent as you do on the P&L year over year?
  • The man knows his strengths and how to build on them for future success. If you follow Marcus Buckingham, have read his books, or even read my partner Kristi Erickson’s blog post last week, you can appreciate the power of this concept. Stop obsessing over your “opportunity areas” and leverage your towering strengths all the way to the bank!
  • He leads by example. Simpson doesn’t just TALK about the value of talent at XTO or in baseball. He convinced his partnership group to apply his beliefs from the corporate world to the baseball diamond. Check out the recent signing of a pitching phenom named Yu Darvish. Do you walk the talk for your own team every day, both publicly and privately?

Betsy Winkler is an avid sports fan and Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1.

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