What the S.F. Giants Can Teach About Culture

Larry Baer

In response to “Baseball Champions’ CEO on Creating a Culture of Success”

Every organization would like to proclaim individuals are treated equally, and many may. However, it is this writer’s assumption a small percentage of organizations are able to back that up with the data and success the Giants organization and Larry Baer are able to. One of the key elements to building such a culture is Mr. Baer’s dedication to hiring individuals with A-level character, even if they possess B-level talent. (Costa, 2015) Bass (1999) points out character serves as one of the pillars leadership is built upon, and by choosing character over talent, Baer has established a culture that values character, while creating an environment for future success. He mentions that 70% of the Giants hires are through their internship program, (Costa, 2015) insuring from the bottom-up there are high character individuals building the culture of the Giants organization.

Mr. Baer mentions their strategy is to control the things they can control. (Costa, 2015) As Schien (2010) points out, leadership is the original source of the beliefs and values of an organization, (p. 32) and choosing to hire character first sets the value that character matters for the Giants organization at all levels. This insures the culture is built on valuing the quality of the people, rather than what they can accomplish for the organization. This also communicates to the members of the organization that they matter as people.

As Mr. Baer points out, the Giants are in a people-intensive business, (Costa, 2015) and any leader in any industry should have this perspective. Leadership is people focused, and placing people first is a path to success. Mr. Baer and the Giants are a great example of what happens when the quality of a person is prioritized over their production: champions are made.


Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior. The Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 181–217.

Costa, B. (2015, February 23). Baseball Champions’ CEO on Creating a Culture of Success. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/baseball-champions-ceo-on-creating-a-culture-of-success-1424664608

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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