4 Things Bud Selig Can Teach Us About Investing In People

In Business, Life, Networking by Joe Sweeney

With the recent announcement that the Commissioner of Major League Baseball will be retiring, I reflect on the legacy that Bud Selig leaves not only with the organization, but the many people he has impacted along the way. A personal friend and someone I view as a master networker, I respect Bud for never letting fear get in the way of his end goals. His ability to let giving rather than taking drive the development of key relationships throughout his career has ultimately persuaded, motivated and facilitated important change for the initiatives about which Bud was most passionate. It is the following approach to investing in others throughout his career that Bud will be remembered for most:

1. You Must Have Patience

The virtue of patience has seemed to disappear in some people’s lives as our pace of living gets faster and immediate gratification is in greater demand. Lack of patience can strain even the strongest relationships and oftentimes cause someone to be viewed as arrogant, impulsive and a poor decision maker. People with these traits are not likely candidates to be in top leadership positions – not to mention people we would want to have as friends or family.

The more patience shown throughout our day-to-day life, the more likely you are to be viewed in a positive way by family, friends, peers, managers and associates. I learned a lot about the value of patience in difficult situations when I asked Bud about how he put together a group of diverse people who brought baseball back to Milwaukee in the 1960’s. He said, “Networking takes so many different forms, but you have to have patience for people to understand you, have confidence in you and faith in you that you not only know what you’re doing, but that you’ll do it.” Bud’s outlook on tackling the seemingly insurmountable goal was to go into it knowing everything he could about the people and processes involved. That level of commitment takes patience.

2. Develop People Skills

Having the ability to be open with clear communication is a key factor in any personal or organizational situation. When you have good people skills, dealing with issues in a straightforward manner as well as actively listening will always strengthen the quality of any relationship. These are the types of skills employers look for when hiring and promoting individuals within an organization because they show your ability to collaborate in a team setting and play well with others.

Bud may have one of the greatest sets of people skills of anyone I have ever met. He truly feels that it is impossible to be successful at any level of business without having a strong ability to communicate. Do you know any executive or business owner with more than 30 associates that they connect with and talk to each day? With 30 team owners in Major League Baseball, Bud continues to have a personal touch point with each every day because of his philosophy on keeping lines of communication open and frequent. This tactic helped Bud develop a tremendous amount of trust and loyalty among his network.

3. Never Make It Personal

Mastering the art of not taking things too personally can be one of the biggest challenges in business situations. Oftentimes, people’s words or actions are a direct reflection of what is going on in their own life rather than something you have done or said to make them react a certain way. Sometimes, it’s just not about you. When a decision is made that you feel has not gone your way, think about the feeling and passion that instigated the outcome. Like many of us, Bud has certainly found himself in many situations where business associates or groups of people have not agreed with a decision or direction he has taken. The decisions were never made to deliberately go against anyone, but rather because he thought it was the best thing to do to move business forward. Keeping your eye on the ultimate goal, and having open communication contributes to having the ability to not take things too personally. Creating constructive, positive situations where everyone feels respected, enables you to move forward with minimal conflict.

4. Commit To Getting The Job Done

Smart business people surround themselves with other smart people – individuals who are idea generators and make good judgments. It’s harder to surround yourself with people who actually get done what needs to be done. The network of people you surround yourself with have a tendency to influence you in a profound way. It’s as if we absorb their way of thinking, decision-making, attitude and more. All of these factors make it so important to be selective in regard to our close network and be sure everyone is committed to doing what it takes to get the job done.

Throughout his tenure with Major League Baseball, Bud showed tremendous dedication to getting the job done while forming networks that were committed to the same goals. Times weren’t always easy or comfortable, but his viewpoint of having a worthwhile goal and committing to get the job done paid off with strong networking and communication.


What strategies do you use to surround yourself with a strong network and invest in the people around you?