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The Captain’s Playbook: Derek Jeter’s Strategies for Success

The Captain’s Playbook: Derek Jeter’s Strategies for Success

Building and scaling teams and ventures can be both challenging and rewarding for business leaders. What has legendary Baseball Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter, learned from years of experience leading high-performing teams? The executive, entrepreneur, philanthropist, five-time World Series champion, and former New York Yankees captain has an impressive resume, having founded multimedia company The Players' Tribune and The Turn 2 Foundation in addition to being the former CEO of the Miami Marlins

Read on for his takeaways on fueling motivation, building a winning team culture, and the value of passion and resilience. 


What’s a non-negotiable for Jeter when it comes to hiring employees (or drafting players)? Passion. More important than having the right skills or qualifications for a job, is the individual’s passion — whether that be passion for a specific goal or career path, it’s not something that can be forced and to Jeter, it’s a major hiring success metric.

You have to find people who are passionate about a goal. You have to find people who are passionate about a career. You can't fake passion...

Look for candidates who are genuinely passionate about the mission and vision of your organization. How do they react during challenging times? Are they solely focused on themselves or do they find satisfaction in the team’s and company’s success? These are all key indicators of intrinsic motivation and having team-oriented mindset which may not come from someone who’s a pure talent hire. 

[Photo credit: Ben Esakof/Halo Creative for HubSpot]


Despite being a Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Jeter is no stranger to professional setbacks — just look at his rookie year where he set a league-record for errors with 56. Failure is an inevitable part of the journey, but how you bounce back from it truly matters. And learning from failures and finding a positive in each mistake is key.

Everyone's going to hit bumps in the road, but how do you prevent it from being a roadblock?

Embrace failure as a learning opportunity and encourage your team to do the same. Rather than dwell on the setback, focus on learning and improvement to encourage a growth mindset, and lean into mentorship opportunities. 

Listen in for Jeter's take on handling setback:


To build a winning culture, you need to have a team that’s on the same page. How do you get everyone to work towards a common goal? Make individuals feel valued and part of the team’s journey. During his tenure as CEO of MLB’s Miami Marlins, he made it a point to introduce the front office employees to the players in the clubhouse. Everyone gets the opportunity to see how each individual role contributes to the goals of the organization. In the end, that provides transparency and appreciation for the contributions of all team members.

Make sure people feel as though they are part of the team, that they're valuable, in any position.

Clearly communicate organizational goals and values to your team. This will help foster a sense of unity, value, and inclusivity within the organization, and help ensure that enough people on the team are on the same page and pulling in the same direction. 

More from Jeter on building a culture of winning:


With years of leadership experience on and off the baseball field, Jeter knows a thing or two about building winning teams. Most important? Hiring based solely on talent can lead to mismatches within your team, whereas valuing diversity of thought and experience can lead to innovation and a more robust organization. Embrace and learn from failures and create a sense of value and inclusion. Speaking from his own career, he underscored the importance of passion and working hard: “I know I was not the most talented player by far… there were a lot of players that had more talent, but no one worked harder, nobody wanted it more, no one was more passionate.”

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