Joe Maddon, Manager of the Chicago Cubs, Is Trying to Figure Out Millennials


Joe Maddon is one of the most highly esteemed managers in Major League Baseball. He has been skipper of the Chicago Cubs since 2014, and led them to a World Series title in 2016. It was the Cubs’ first World Series championship in 108 years.

Maddon is regarded as one of the best managers in baseball for his creative style, openness to baseball analytics, and willingness to speak his mind.

Major League Baseball recently conducted its winter meetings in Las Vegas, the annual gathering of baseball officials where trades are made, free agents are signed, jobs are filled on the management side, and rosters begin taking shape for the year to come. At this winter’s meetings, Joe Maddon made a comment about Millennials.

Courtney Connley of CNBC reports:

During day two of the team’s winter meetings, Maddon revealed that he plans to improve communication between the team’s front office employees and the young players on the roster, and said that he’s added “Managing Millennials for Dummies,” to his off-season reading list.

In a report from ESPN Staff Writer Jesse Rogers, Maddon is quoted saying:

"I'm in the middle of that [book] right now, and you always think this for dummy's [sic] thing is really rudimentary written; it's really well written and researched. I'm learning about traditionalists, Baby Boomers, the Xers, the Millennials. And I'm really starting to understand this a little bit better."

Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune relayed this additional quote from Maddon:

“My dad, that generation, thought we were a bunch of babies. The (baby) B Boomers, the traditionalists thought we were all soft. And then you think the (Generation) Xers are soft. The Xers think the Millennials are soft. It doesn’t matter. You have to figure out how to communicate and extract the best out of this group. And make sure you’re always on the same page. That’s what I’ve been studying.”

Maddon is entering the final year of his five year contract with the Cubs, and the team fell short of expectations last year. Maddon is expected to do more in the year to come with the talent on the roster.

What’s notable, of course, is that Maddon understands that in order to do so he has to continue to learn. Joe Maddon is 64 years old. The average age of those on the current Cubs roster is 28.6 years old.

As in any endeavor, communication is a major key to success. Joe Maddon is studying, learning, and seeking to change his approach to best serves his players and the greater Cubs organization.

Are you studying, learning, and adapting your approach? If you are going to communicate the gospel to emerging generations, you may need to. A first step, as Joe Maddon illustrates, is understanding who they are, what makes them tick, and how they are different than generations that preceded them.