Insight Over Breakfast: Royals’ Winning Formula

OP Mayor's Prayer Breakfast
Photo compliments of Jim Mathis Photography.

The KC Royals’ Winning Formula for Business and Life

Recently, a few from our Harmon team were privileged to hear Dayton Moore, General Manager for the World Champion Kansas City Royals, speak at the Overland Park Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.   

When Dayton took the job with the Royals ten years ago, the glory days of the 70’s and 80’s were long gone. They were considered one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball – a broke, small market team that struggled with ownership instability for years and could not afford decent players. The Royals were so bad, they were part of the league’s contraction talks.

With the support of their new owner, Mr. David Glass, the Royals started their long journey back to a World Series Championship. Everyone wants great performers, however a team that could only afford a fraction of the Yankees and Red Sox payroll did something different.

Dayton shared the following management principles that changed the Royals’ culture and brought home a championship. These principles apply to all organizations.

Character matters:  

Amazing talent and potential without solid character is nothing. The bad character will poison the team, and chaos in a player’s private life will affect performance.  


All good things must be patiently cultivated. The Royals invested development of a solid farm system. While wealthy teams took short cuts with expensive free agents, the Royals developed young talented players. Having played together for years, by the time the players reached major leagues they were great friends. They loved each other and played for one another. Since they were so in sync, they were able to consistently pull off miraculous plays.  

 Play for each other, not for ourselves:

Just like major league baseball players, we can pad our stats and go for a bigger paycheck and personal glory. However the real glory comes when we work together, sacrifice for each other and increase our chances of winning as a team.  

“The will to win for each other is not everything, it’s the only thing.”

The Royals often show these principles on the field. For most teams with a runner on base and no outs, the star hitter swings for the fences for instant glory. This often ends in a hot shot to the infield for a double play. On the Royals, the star will probably lay down a bunt or hit to the opposite field to advance the runner and let the next batter have a chance at glory and give the team a better chance to score.  

Dayton’s Seven Rules to Live by:

  1. Settle disputes quickly.
  2. Be responsive, give more than expected.
  3. Stand up for your people.
  4. Share the glory, humility.
  5. Remain calm.
  6. Be accountable.
  7. Make one-on-one conversations a priority.

These winning principles go beyond team sports. It’s applicable in business, families and social groups. When we all concentrate on serving others and helping others achieve their goals, good things are bound to happen.

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