From Worst to World Series

By Lindsay Scarlatelli

From Worst to World Series: Dayton Moore’s Process

You may or may not have heard of Dayton Moore, but if you follow professional baseball, you have heard of the Kansas City Royals.  Once the laughing stock of Major League Baseball, the Royals have gone from baseball’s worst team to one of baseball’s hottest teams, fresh off winning the 2015 World Series and finishing as the runner-up in 2014. So what does Dayton Moore have to do with the Kansas City Royals?  The answer to that is, well…everything.

After spending 11 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, during that time winning 11 division titles, including the 1995 World Series, Dayton Moore was hired in 2006 to be the new General Manager of the Royals.  He was tasked with rebuilding a team that was coming off three straight 100+ loss seasons.  Translate that to basketball, over the course of 30 regular season games, that would equate to roughly 10 wins a season.  In football, that’s roughly 3 wins a season.  Moore combined some of what he learned from the Braves with his own “process” of how to build a Championship program.  Below are three ways Moore changed the Royals through his “process.”

  1. Culture
    • When he took over the Royals, Moore was set on a culture of selflessness, a strong desire to compete, relentlessness, positivity, and discipline.  Whether it be players, coaches, support staff, etc., it was important to bring in people that reflect his philosophies, principles, and views for building a successful program.
    • You change the culture when you have a selfless mindset, starting from the top.
    • Winning can hide many problems.  You can’t hide them when you’re losing.  As the culture changes, so does the product.
    • Positivity is important when changing a culture. You want people who are enthusiastic, extremely positive, and always expecting good things to happen. In sports, you will fail. The people and teams that manage failure the best are those that reach their ceilings. Positive people, energy givers know how to help people manage failure.
    • Create a family environment.  You WANT families around, and want them to want to be around.  When bringing players and staff into your culture, is that someone you want your spouse, kids, or players around every day?  Do you want them influencing those people?
  2. Leadership
    • Moore recognizes the importance of letting those he hire DO THEIR JOBS and not micromanage.  It helps the shaping of a positive culture.
    • Make everyone feel important and special.  Everyone within the organization matters.  Make an effort every day to make your people feel special.  Can’t have a good culture without good morale.
    • Organizational harmony exists if everyone feels that they can freely express their opinions and offer new ideas.  If they feel they can never weigh in, they’ll never buy in.  Welcome opinions and debate.  Good organizations have the ability to argue and debate without making it personal.
    • “If you aren’t leading in your personal life, it’s going to be difficult to lead other people.”  Make your family a priority.  Allow your staff to make their personal life a priority.  If you can’t lead with your “home team” as Dayton referred to it and in your personal life, how can you successfully lead others?
    • “The biggest mistake we make as leaders is to take out our frustration on the group.  If it doesn’t benefit the person or situation, shut up.”
    • “If you want people to work for you and enjoy it, you need to give them slack every once in a while.”
  3. Plan
    • Dayton Moore came in with a very detailed plan about what his “process” would look like, not some “quick fix.”  It would require patience.  A major part of the plan was player development and year-by-year what it looks like.
    • Focus, discipline, and dedication to small details and precision.
    • Back to hiring, Moore was strategic about his hires according to who would fit his detailed plan best.  Some people were hired for a position that would be considered a “step down” but were willing to do what was necessary to build a successful organization.
    • By putting the right people in the right positions, Moore also understood the importance of delegation in order to take the organization to the next level.  Delegation further brings out their energy, passion, and buy-in.  To him, delegating was the best way to ensure success.
    • Criticism comes with the territory, oftentimes undeserved.  At the end of the day you must remember that kindness and love always win.  Moore was heavily criticized and mocked on a yearly basis, with each year more people calling for his firing for not producing results “quick enough.”  He remained calm, collected, and continued a positive approach to his process.


Source for much of this article: More Than A Season: Building A Championship Cultureby Dayton Moore


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Lindsay Scarlatelli

Scarlatelli is the current Director of Basketball Operations for Miami (OH) University. Prior to Miami, she spent two years as an assistant coach at Oakland University and Illinois-at Chicago (UIC). She completed her Master's degree from Michigan State University in 2012 and while at MSU, was part of the team's first-ever outright Big Ten Championship in 2011.

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Feb. 20, 2016 – Surprise, AZ, USA – Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore, right, visits with Baseball Operations Assistant/Player Development Chris Getz during a spring training workout on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Surprise, Ariz. (Credit Image: � John Sleezer/TNS via ZUMA Wire)

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