Chicago Cubs Rebuild

Cubs- Lessons From a Rebuild

By DeVry University

The Business Behind an Organizational Rebuild: Transforming the Chicago Cubs


In 2012, the Chicago Cubs lost 101 games and were among the worst teams in Major League Baseball. Fast forward to 2016. The Cubs won 103 regular-season games, finishing with baseball’s best record and clinching the National League (NL) Central Division title. In October, the stakes got higher as they earned the NL pennant. Then, on November 2, in a nail-biting, rain-delayed, extra-inning Game 7 of the World Series, they took it all and were crowned the champions – for the first time in 108 years!

How did the Cubs transform from “loveable losers” to major league powerhouse? This past July, Keller Graduate School of Management hosted Chicago Cubs: Lessons from a Rebuild, a 90-minute panel discussion examining the business behind the Cubs’ turnaround. Streamed live from the Chicago campus and moderated by local ABC affiliate sports anchor Jim Rose, the discussion brought together Rose; Crane Kenney, Cubs’ president of business operations; and Dr. Michael Komos, professor of business management at DeVry, for a spirited discussion of the philosophy and strategy behind the Cubs’ transformation, and the vision for the organization’s future.

Kenney provided an in-depth look at the history of the Cubs franchise and a vivid picture of the strategy for success he and his front-office team developed and implemented. Alongside Rose and Komos, Kenney fielded questions from the live audience and via Twitter on topics ranging from long-term strategic planning to redefining organizational culture.

For the students – as well as alumni, faculty and staff – in attendance, the result was a compelling case study in business turnaround and organizational effectiveness. DeVry Professor Robert Salitore said of the event, “It was a good chance to learn new aspects of the team I’ve rooted for forever. An even bigger win is that the topics discussed have immediate applicability to my students.”

“[The concepts were] very practical in nature,” noted John Wesley, who’s pursuing his master’s degree in Project Management. “It was very helpful to see how the [Cubs] organization has adapted its management philosophy and embraced change.”

This season, the Chicago Cubs reaped the rewards of Kenney’s strategic leadership. For all who took advantage of the panel discussion, the event was a valuable case study on effective change management. It’s safe to say Lessons was a home run.

View Chicago Cubs: Lessons from a Rebuild at, or watch on the go by scanning the QR code.