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SBJ/March 3 - 9, 2008/Forty Under 40
Published March 3, 2008
When most sports team executives begin their jobs, they focus first on fan and sponsor experience, looking to build public good will quickly with the club's key clientele and revenue sources.
Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall ventured on a very different course.
Hall instead started with fixing the club's internal culture. Despite becoming the most successful expansion franchise in MLB history, the Diamondbacks were in dire need of a refreshing by the middle of this decade. The club had rung up significant amounts of debt, attendance fell by more than a third since winning the 2001 World Series title, and local fan buzz was eroding severely amid a series of losing seasons.
So Hall implemented a broad program to re-energize the Diamondbacks staff, with measures that included regular working lunches with small groups of employees to brainstorm ideas, staff outings, a rewriting of the club's overall mission statement, and on-field recognition of top employees during games.
"It's not necessarily the normal way of doing things, but I was absolutely convinced that we couldn't go back out to the market, be who we wanted to be, and do what we needed to do without addressing all the internal issues," Hall said. "We need to re-collect ourselves to a common purpose, and we've done that."