The Sydcast is all about intimate and informative conversations with fascinating people you may not know. Until now. Because everyone has a story.
Listen in as Syd talks to entrepreneurs, community leaders, professional athletes, politicians, academics, authors, musicians, and many more about who they are and how they got there.
Sydney Finkelstein is an award winning professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and a best-selling author of Superbosses and 25 other books. He’s written for the Harvard Business Review, the BBC, Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and more academic journals than you’d care to know about. He spends his time asking questions, and sometimes, even answering them.
From inside the hallowed walls of Fenway Park, Sam Kennedy shares how a mediocre baseball player from the South End of Boston who dreamt about playing for the Red Sox instead became their President and CEO. Sam and Syd talk about all things baseball, New England, and what it takes to turn a business into a dynasty when you are surrounded by excellence. Red Sox lovers (and haters) won't want to miss this inside look at how the Sox baseball machine plays the game, in this episode of The Sydcast.
Syd Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He holds a Masters degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Finkelstein has published 25 books and 90 articles, including the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, which LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman calls the “leadership guide for the Networked Age.” He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a consultant and speaker to leading companies around the world, and a top 25 on the global Thinkers 50 list of top management gurus. Professor Finkelstein’s research and consulting work often relies on in-depth and personal interviews with hundreds of people, an experience that led him to create and host his own podcast, The Sydcast, to uncover and share the stories of all sorts of fascinating people in business, sports, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday life.
Sam Kennedy is entering his 18th season with the Red Sox and his third as President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition to his role with the Red Sox, Sam also acts as Chief Executive of Fenway Sports Management, a sports marketing and sales agency that is a sister company to the Red Sox under the Fenway Sports Group family.
A native of Brookline, MA, who grew up within walking distance of Fenway Park, Sam joined the Red Sox in 2002 and has played a key role in the dramatic growth of the Red Sox brand. His particular focus the past few years has been on encouraging kids to come to the ballpark to experience Fenway Park through the creation of a "Kids Only" Gate K and a free ticket for all kids that sign up for Red Sox Kid Nation. Sam has also been instrumental in the transformation of Fenway Park into a year-round venue, including concerts, hockey, soccer, football, and even a "Big Air" skiing and snowboarding competition requiring construction of a 150-foot high ramp from centerfield to home plate.
Sam has received many recognitions during his time with the Red Sox, including Boston Business Journal's 40 under 40 Award and his induction into the Sports Business Journal's 40 under 40 Hall of Fame which includes multiple-time recipients of the honor. This national honor placed him in the company of the most influential and creative young professionals in the business of sports.
Sam is active in the community and serves on the MLB International Committee and MLB Ticketing Committee as well as the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Trustee/Advisory Board and Marketing Committee; the Trinity College Board of Fellows; Winsor School Board of Trustees; Dana-Farber's Visiting Committee for Institute Initiatives; The BASE's Advisory Committee; and Camp Harbor View Board of Directors.
Insights from this episode:
- Details on Sam growing up in Boston, going to school with Theo Epstein, and how mentorship influenced his career.
- Benefits of being a part of the unique, regional New England dynasty of champion sports teams that include the New England Patriots and the Yankees.
- Strategies on competing for sponsors and fans despite the many sports teams and entertainment options in Boston and creating a team culture that is built to win.
- How to overcome challenges during the pre- and post-season and reposition for the next championship team.
- Secrets of how deals are made to move teams and stadiums and how Sam recruits top talent to build a high-level management team.
- Strategies on creating the next generation of fans by engaging young kids in baseball and getting them into Fenway Park to fall in love with baseball.
Quotes from the show:
- “You realize when you are in a position of leadership that the most important part or quality of that job is making sure you have people around you, on your team that are smarter, better, bigger, faster, stronger, helping you achieve what you are trying to do.” – Sam Kennedy
- “You want to make sure at all levels … that you are getting the best, most talented people you can.” – Sam Kennedy
- On being a sports team in New England: “When you surround yourself with excellence, it usually will raise your game … it drives you toward excellence.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “It’s harder and harder every single year to be competitive, especially in this division, but it’s what makes it fun and interesting.” – Sam Kennedy
- “There is a trend toward younger leadership in baseball and it is really remarkable.” – Syd Finkelstein
- On hiring talent for baseball operations: “Sometimes there is a premium on experience and having done the job before … we were more concerned with hiring someone who would fit in with our top four [managers].” – Sam Kennedy
- On the bond between affiliate organizations: “You’re competitors, but you’re also in this crazy business together and you build these friendships.” – Sam Kennedy
- On growing business: “We are in more competition from a business perspective with local entertainment options than we are with the Kansas City Royals.” – Sam Kennedy
- “Baseball has been the innovator when it comes to sports analytics.” – Syd Finkelstein
- On the unique Boston sports market: “It hurts to lose here [Boston], but there is nothing like winning in Boston.” – Sam Kennedy
- Sam’s number one piece of advice: “Cherish and treasure the relationships that you are able to forge in high school and college because you never know, they could stay with you throughout your career.” – Sam Kennedy
- On what Syd has learned about what makes a good business: “You think hard-core business, you’ve got to hit the numbers, but (those businesses) care about people and therefore people care about them, the company, and the organization.” – Syd Finkelstein
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry (www.podcastlaundry.com)