The Importance of Fundamentals

“Rizzutoisms” in practice and why structure matters: Thinking “out of the box” without having a box in the first place can be dangerous.

—Phil Rizzuto and “Rizzutoisms”

Before we can “think out of the box,” it is important to have a box in the first place. Attempting to attack a business problem in a new or inventive way without having a solid foundation in place first can be dangerous. To illustrate what happens to companies that fail to start with fundamentals, we begin this chapter with the story of Phil Rizzuto.

Phil Rizzuto, known in the baseball world as “The Scooter,” was an interesting character. A former shortstop for the New York Yankees and 1954 American League Most Valuable Player, he is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. He is perhaps better known as their longtime television announcer (some of you might remember him as the former spokesperson for The Money Store or for his being featured in the Meatloaf song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”). However, he is probably best known for his colorful and convoluted comments.

To illustrate, Phil Rizzuto and his coannouncer, Bobby Murcer, were announcing a game between the New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers. It was a slow Sunday afternoon game, and ...

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