Royals GM Kicks Off Young Alumni Leadership Series
There were times following his hire in 2006, said Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, that even he had doubts about the future of the franchise he had been picked to lead.
Following a run of success spanning the mid-1970s to 1985, the Royals organization had fallen on tough times — shrunken budgets, a depleted minor league player pipeline, and free-agent contracts that didn’t work out for one or another had yielded only two winning seasons since the franchise’s first World Series win in 1985. When Moore arrived, the team was in the middle of its third consecutive season of 100-plus losses.
“After two or three months of being here, I was 100 percent sure, absolutely convinced there was no way we could win,” he said.
Moore was the inaugural guest Wednesday of the Rockhurst University Young Alumni Council Speaker Series in the auditorium of Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Hall. His presentation, "Leading With Character," was the first in a series that mirrors the annual Rockhurst University Leadership Series but is geared at the University’s younger alumni. Over the course of the evening, Moore shared insights from his work rebuilding the Royals franchise — and the spoils of that work, bringing along the team’s 2015 World Series trophy for fan photo ops.
Moore admitted it was a daunting task to turn things around at Kauffman Stadium. Putting the pieces in place would take leadership and out-of-the-box thinking from those at every level, making the transformation of the organization as a whole an important component of transforming on-field results.
“We want to create the greatest environment in all of sports – not just baseball, but all of sports — where people want to work,” he said, outlining his vision at the time. “We’re going to represent our community with kindness and class. We’re going to interact with young people. We’re going to grow the game of baseball in our community by setting a great example.”
Guided by seven simple principles he called “organizational harmony,” Moore said his leadership style is suffused with values and vision that he aims to make contagious, part of a culture that extends from the players to the maintenance staff.
“What people need to know is all of our success is tied together,” he said.
It also means personal accountability, one-on-one communication and sharing success. The organizational harmony approach is a big part of the reason Moore said the Royals found themselves on the doorsteps of a World Series win in 2014 and hoisting the trophy in 2015.
And through it all, Moore said the organization strived to represent the Kansas City fans and community that also played a part in the Royals’ success, committing energy and funding to efforts like the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, various charitable and community efforts by the team and players, and Moore’s own “C” You in the Major Leagues Foundation.
“I love Kansas City so much and the great thing about the success that we’ve had here with this baseball team is we’ve had an opportunity to share our leadership journey, our story if you will, all over the world,” he said.