Reds’ Mood Mojo


Even if you’re not a sports junkie, you can still relate to the winning ways of the 2010 Cincinnati Reds. What “mood mix” excels to create the miracle called the Soup of Success? To find out, as a psychologist, I put my head together with a winning Coach, to identify the key ingredients the Cincinnati Reds use to cook up success.


Without this combination of ingredients, the soup of success would likely turn into a toxic soup of money-ego-driven chunks of fresh meat, boiling in some sort of septic dish or bowl…

1. THE SUPERSTAR. There is always the main ingredient of a superstar who can take the heat in the kitchen. So, at least one five-star player is always all in on the winning team. That starring player can be a serious geek, like the Reds’ Joey Votto, who is admired by nearly everyone. Although there’s no “I” in “TEAM,” winners do put the “I” in “WIN.” The Reds show a winning recipe for the soup of success.

2.  THE TEAM TAPS INTO THE MOOD MOJO. Team players aren’t jealous of the superstar, but instead they seek advice as they watch the master closely and attempt to mimic the magic of the mood mojo moment. Should you take that, “We’re all in here to win, no matter what our role is…” out of the soup mix, every good soup would turn from a delectable blend of tastes into a bland chemical mess. The Reds have their mood mojo working.

3. THERE ARE VETERANS IN THE CLUBHOUSE. The Reds have rightly brought into the kitchen highly successful veteran individuals (Scott Rolen, Orlando Cabera to name two), who want their good habits to rub off on the other, younger players. Powerful message: It’s more about enjoying the journey than piling up more money. Still love the soup, but love even more the successful team who runs the restaurant like the pros they are. The Reds attitude: “Let’s enjoy this as we go, to give more power to the bat. It’s pretty simple, really.”

4. EVERYONE’S ALL IN. Coach Wooden, of UCLA basketball fame, said, “You must have all your people who are EAGER, accept their roles as equally important team members.” Did you get that – not only ready and willing, but eager…! If you only have one foot in the kitchen so you can escape at any time, then you are really not all in at all. People who aren’t all in, find it so easy to bail when there’s a tough loss, or when someone says something bad about the group or the recipe. The Reds are all in to win.

5. GOOD SUPPORT CAST. Support people of all stripes are critical to the team’s winning recipe. These people may have nothing to do with the actual “front store” game, but they are the “back of the room” unsung heroes who make it possible for the stars to effortlessly shine. Customer-centered support staff, clerical and administrative people, are eager to excel and contribute the spices to the recipe for success, while stirring the pot so the soup won’t scorch. The Reds’ support cast gives the gift of making everyone look good.

6.  MENTOR GUIDANCE. A good team always reveres mentor guidance, a necessary ingredient in the soup. In the midst of chaos, mind over emotion mentors stick to the basic recipe for success. They aren’t set adrift in a storm of bad moods, and they keep everyone calm when fears drown out common sense. Mentors (trainers, consultants) are eager to share what they’ve learned over their career in a specialized area. Reds’ mentors re-energize spirits that are sagging.

7. COACH MUST LIKE ME. Team players thrive with this coach (or boss) message: “As a player, I care about you. I care about how you’re doing. I’m not going to let you down or let your flounder here. I’m ALL IN. You are not a cog in a machine. You are an irreplaceable ingredient in our success. I will never throw you under the bus. The Reds’ Chef has an “aura of believability,” always coming up with a way to amend the almost perfect recipe with a bit more of this or a tad less of that.

Bad food or bad soup tastes like it has an overwhelming amount of one thing or another or is absolutely lacking in something else, instead of having a good balance. The Chef knows that a balanced recipe, especially with extra mood mojo, is best.

Players see that the Chef knows how to make a great pot of soup.

Are you cooking up the soup of a winning team in your business like the Reds have done? Chances are, you’re not, because there are so few winning teams around. The winning teams have all the right ingredients assembled and in place…and so can you!

Dr. Dennis O’Grady, Dayton clinical psychologist, might not claim to be a sports nut but he is a “Mood Management” expert with “million dollar” communication tools every successful team can use. You can access his training works at

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