Joe Maddon Reading ‘Managing Millennials for Dummies’ to Prep for Season

Joe Maddon enters the final season of his five-year contract without any assurance that he’ll be extended. And he’ll be doing it with a new trio of pitching, hitting, and bench coaches for the third straight year. Underpinning the whole works is that he will be managing for his job in 2019 despite averaging 97 wins and reaching the postseason four times in four previous seasons.

The key to that might just be a book that sounds as it was left behind when Chili Davis cleaned out his locker: Managing Millennials for Dummies. Seriously, that’s the actual title of the book Maddon told the media he’s reading to prep for the season.

“I’m in the middle of that right now,” Maddon said at the Winter Meetings in Vegas. “And you always think this for dummy’s thing is really rudimentarily written; it’s really well written and researched. I’m learning about traditionalists, baby boomers, the Xers, the millennials. And I’m really starting to understand this a little bit better.”

Though it sounds like typical corporate mumbo-jumbo for people who don’t have the emotional intelligence to just, like, talk with their employees, the description of MMfD seems really familiar.

Managing Millennials For Dummies is the field guide to people-management in the modern workplace. Packed with insight, advice, personal anecdotes, and practical guidance, this book shows you how to manage your Millennial workers and teach them how to manage themselves. You’ll learn just what makes them tick—they’re definitely not the workers of yesteryear—and how to uncover the deeply inspirational talent they have hiding not far below the surface. 

Millennials are the product of a different time, with different values, different motivations, and different wants—and in the U.S., they now make up the majority of the workforce. This book shows you how to bring out their best and discover just how much they’re really capable of.

Hey, wait a minute, that’s basically a distillation of everything Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been saying about the Cubs since their season ended in disappointment.

“It’s our job not just to assemble a talented group, but to unearth that talent and have it manifest on the field,” Epstein said during his postmortem presser in early October. “Are we doing everything we can in creating the right situation to get the most out of these guys?”

That same sentiment was echoed Monday in Vegas.

“It’s something we talk about a lot: What can we do differently from an onboarding standpoint to make guys comfortable to get the most out of them?” Hoyer asked rhetorically. “From a cultural standpoint to a coaching standpoint, what can we do better to make sure those guys come in and get off on the right foot?”

Huh, you think these guys are all just participating in a book club or something? The Cubs brass doesn’t seem like a group that would need pointers on how to handle employees who weren’t born prior to the 80’s, but they may well have made a few suggestions to their manager. And while the Maddon’s could have gone to Amazon and copped the book of his own volition, it’s pretty evident that the front office is exerting a little more influence on how things happen on the field.

Maddon admitted back in November that he’d be making some changes to his pregame routine, spending less time with the media in order to accommodate more hands-on coaching. He reiterated that Tuesday, saying he’s not at all offended by what Epstein is asking of Maddon and his staff. In fact, Maddon said, he’s looking forward to the new challenges ahead of him.

“I’m going to do my job,” Maddon said. “I might alter it a little bit, like getting out on the field more often. What we’ve done over the last four years I feel pretty good about, feel strongly about, and I think you’ll see that trend continue.”

If that trend continues, the Cubs will once again play more than 162 games and they’ll win more than 90 of them. But does that mean Maddon will be back, or could he actually be shown the door if the Cubs fail to hoist hardware in October? Maddon doesn’t seem too worried about it.

“Let’s just win the World Series and see how that all plays out.”

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