As a Kansas City guy, it’s hard for me to pass up an opportunity to celebrate the Royals’ recent World Series victory. As an accounting and litigation support guy, it’s hard for me to pass up an interesting article where accounting was involved in litigation. So I’m merging these topics into a single blog post. There’s an important lesson to learn from Kansas City pitcher Johnny Cueto’s performance leading up to the World Series and the recent mistrial in the Dewey & LeBoeuf case.
Dewey & LeBoeuf Case
Three former executives of Dewey & LeBoeuf law firm were charged with more than 100 counts in a financial fraud scheme. According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the case had a high degree of financial complexity that may have proved too much for some jurors to comprehend, resulting in a mistrial.
Johnny Cueto’s Postseason Performance
Johnny Cueto, an ace pitcher for the Royals, was brought to Kansas City to do one thing: help the Royals win a World Series. He did so, but not without a major misstep along the way. Cueto’s misstep occurred during game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. It was—by many accounts—partly attributable to poor communication. In that game, the Blue Jays were suspected of stealing signs, i.e., intercepting the communication between the catcher and pitcher to learn the next pitch.
To neutralize the threat, Cueto and catcher Salvador Perez reportedly adopted a more complex communication method to throw off the Blue Jays. While Cueto dominated the hitters in his previous and following starts, his start against the Blue Jays was horrendous. He gave up eight earned runs in that game as opposed to just one in the prior game, and two in the next one. This disparity was reportedly due in part to misunderstandings between the catcher and pitcher using a more complex communication system.
Both of these cases illustrate the importance of clear communication. Each scenario represents an enormous amount of time, energy, effort, talent and money. For miscommunication to nullify all that work must have been tremendously frustrating to all parties involved.
Don’t fall into the same trap. If you’re working on a complex issue, invest the time to break it down into manageable chunks or simplify the terms so others can more easily understand. Jeremy Clopton of BKD recently presented a webinar on practical steps to help you do exactly that. Check out his archived presentation here.