Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, talked about change and growth recently at W. P. Carey’s Economics Club of Phoenix luncheon at the Camelback Golf Club.

The Club meets monthly to hear from CEOs and prominent businessmen regarding job growth, finance and management. This business-networking mecca is an excellent place to get a feel for the Valley’s economic standing and to learn from industry professionals.

Hall, who has extensive leadership experience and serves on 27 various boards, shared his vision of culture and how it has impacted fans and the team.

Hall recalled an encounter with a fan that approached him once and said,:

“You look like an idiot. Lose the suit! It’s 110° outside and this is baseball. You ask us to buy this stuff, but you don’t even wear it?”

The staff did lose the suits, and that led to more ways of doing things. Many changes have been made at the Chase Field in recent years, including the much-contested uniform switch.

“My first year, I was very popular, let me tell you that.”

Despite the resistance, Hall continued to make the hard decisions and that has made all the difference.

“Change is not always a bad thing, and in our case, they were changes we needed to make,” he said. “We changed our uniform colors, and that was a big deal. I didn’t realize how big a deal that was going to be.

“There was no red in our division, we were 28th out of 30 in merchandise sales.”

Sale have increased dramatically, and as a gesture to the fans, the players have donned throwback purple uniforms that fans chose online.

The most crucial shifts have been within the business structure itself, however. Since Hall joined the Diamondbacks, he has established an atmosphere of family among the staff and players.

His speech centered on the creation of the Circle of Success, which outlines the company’s five major areas of focus. The Circle, posted on walls throughout the ballpark’s offices, includes Performance, Financial Efficiency, Fan Experience, Community and Culture.

And when it comes to the community, the Diamondbacks have given more to the
Valley than all other local teams combined. Fan favorite and 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez was in New York recently to accept the 2012 National League Bobby Murcer award, which honors the team that commits the most money to the Baseball Assistance Team and the community.

Evening on the Diamond, an annual gala, raised $1.7 million last year alone to benefit  local charities. Season ticket scholarships are granted to needy families who love baseball but can’t afford games.

“Our ownership cares deeply about this community, and they realize that our ballclub is a community asset,” Hall said. “The more we can do in the community, especially during tough economic times, the better we’re going to.”

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