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Entrepreneurship, Second Edition by Andrew Zacharakis, William Bygrave

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6.7. Keeping the Team Together

We've looked at the value of a well-functioning team. But not every team functions well, even if it's filled with superstars. Consider the Detroit Tigers, which had Major League Baseball's second highest payroll ($137 million) in 2008. The team finished in last place in the American League Central Division despite having all-star Carlos Guillen and power players such as Todd Jones, Kenny Rogers, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriquez, Jeremy Bonderman, Magglio Ordonez, and Gary Sheffield.[]

Why has this happened? Common sense dictates that the team with the best talent should win, but a dysfunctional team often fails. The key here is chemistry: Sometimes the whole really is greater than the sum of the parts. Consider the Oakland A's of Major League Baseball. Although as of the writing of this book they have not won the World Series since 1989, they have consistently achieved a winning record despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the major leagues. From 2003 to 2007, the Oakland A's had the second-best record (456–353) in the American League, and yet they spent one-third of what the winning New York Yankees spent on payroll.[] The A's general manager, Billy Beane, argues that a manager can put together a winning combination as long as he understands the gaps in his team, works to fill those gaps, and focuses on finding players who match the team's culture and work ethic. While we're not advocating the statistical construction of teams, we do believe that understanding ...

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