ESPN recently asked a group of baseball experts, “If you were starting a baseball franchise today and you could pick any player in professional baseball to carry the team for the first 10 years, who would be your franchise player?” For context, franchise players are the face of the organization, account for a significant amount of on-field production, drive ticket sales and massive television contracts and attract other talented players. The question of which player is a great question with a long enough time horizon to really make you think. Do you pick Matt Kemp from the Dodgers (27 years old, just coming into his prime)? Do you pick a young Bryce Harper (19 year-old, unproven rookie phenom with comparisons to some of the best players of all time)? Or do you pick someone like Josh Hamilton (31 years old, at the peak of his career and arguably the best player in baseball).
This a powerful question company leaders should be asking: “Looking 10 years out, which one “franchise” product/service/capability would we rebuild our company around?” It’s a provocative question that’s sure to inspire a number of great conversations and debates:
Fortunately for most companies you don’t have to pick just one Bryce Harper or Matt Kemp, and you likely won’t need to choose immediately. But, you should expect to have to choose at some point in the future and you should have multiple potential franchise ideas in development – because you can actually predict the future and prepare for the reality that, at least some elements of your current franchise are going to become less-than-sustainable.