MANAGING EXPECTATIONS – PART THREE

By:  Holly Horning:

Who could imagine that a single action could spur so much speculation and so many questions? That’s exactly what happened when Al Avila confirmed Brad Ausmus would return as manager in 2016.

All week, we at Totally Tigers have taken an in-depth look at Saturday’s announcement – identifying the issues, analyzing them and trying to figure where, if any, this may lead. So far, I’ve identified a slew of questions we should be asking as well as 6 factors that are likely influential.

In case you haven’t read them, check them out at:

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/hit-by-a-bus/

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/managing-expectations-part-1/

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/managing-expectations-part-two/

And the issues continue to accumulate with even more to identify in today’s installment. Let’s talk money, top dogs and corporate culture.

Ever since Brad was hired, we’ve witnessed a number of contradictory statements and action. Starting with the Tigers being “in win now” mode yet hiring a manager with absolutely no experience. The contradictions in statements and actions have only grown in frequency this year.

We really no longer know what to believe about how Mr. I felt about Brad. The reason for releasing Dave is also now in doubt. And we had hope when Al Avila broomed out much of the minor leagues, yet ended up keeping Brad.

So our next question should be “Who is actually in charge at this moment in time?” Could Mr. I have been running the show in the past? Is his son, Chris, making the decisions now? If so, have the goals for this team changed? Having different people in charge could explain a lot of the contradictions we’ve been seeing.

If Chris is now in charge, could this explain why Brad received a pardon despite multiple reports of unhappiness within the organization? Could the son be making a statement about the money due to Brad for 2016 – and the buyout for 2017? Is he placing a priority on expenditures over performance?

Could Al Avila, as the new kid, have less persuasive powers with ownership? His new job definitely puts him into a learning curve. If Chris is indeed in charge, could he have overruled Al’s decision?

Or is this a classic case of “failing up” – the business term for people who are able to maintain or advance in their jobs despite mediocre talent and demonstrated poor results? Or could the Tiger culture be one mired in conservative moves and safety? Are they afraid to be bold? Are they hesitant of the results if they do something different? Is there a fear of change?

If the Front Office makes statements absolving Brad of blame for this year, while officially placing it on the players, will they have a plan to hold players accountable next year? Will we see a vast turnover in the roster next year because of management’s beliefs and statement?

How an organization develops its philosophy and vision is one the top intangibles responsible for success. Do the Tigers have a culture that supports winning? Do their actions match their beliefs? Look no further than the St. Louis Cardinals to see how they have practiced their “obsessed with winning” (their actual quote) corporate culture with great and consistent success.

On Saturday, we’ll tackle the final subject – and maybe the most important – as we attempt to sort out this year’s biggest mystery.

7 thoughts on “MANAGING EXPECTATIONS – PART THREE

  1. Absolutely great question. “If the Front Office makes statements absolving Brad of blame for this year, while officially placing it on the players, will they have a plan to hold players accountable next year? Will we see a vast turnover in the roster next year because of management’s beliefs and statement?” In Al we trust!

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  2. One reason or one person is never to blame for failure, so there many to keep Ausmus, a few would be: 1) Players strongly backed him up; 2) Managers available are not that much of an upgrade over Brad; 3) Too many holes to fill in and the organization might think they are not ready to be “full time contenders” in 2016. At times the best move is the one you don’t make.

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  3. Excellent set of questions, Holly and I think Frankie has some logical possible answers. The silence from ownership does call into question vision and culture. I think the season ticket holders will be hoping to hear a plan at season’s end other than, “We hope to have fewer injuries and the young guys get better next year.”

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  4. Tigers have proven to be bold – they did hire Brad after all. Perhaps Chris is taking on more ownership responsibilities and DD saw the writing on the wall and tried to get out while the going was good, possibly envisioning himself resigning at years’ end not ever thinking ownership would replace him over the phone.

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  5. The words of Yeats are a good description of the Tigers organization right now: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” An era has passed, and some smart work is needed to avoid another 1994-2005 collapse.

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