There are some really good ideas here. My thoughts on the subject are this. All champions (that's what you are building for right) at every sport, competition or even meaningless banter have one thing in common. Competitive fire!
I have seen more guys with less talent win more championships than I care to write. But it's the one thing that sets champions apart. Most every guy in baseball will tell you he loves to win, but how many tell you he hates to lose even moreso.
These are the guys who put in the work to be the best and usually end up that way. So if I had to target one thing that would improve an organization/team it would be to make that the #1 criteria for potential players in our organization competitive desire.
How competitive is this guy, on a scale of 1 to 10? #1 being, I don't care how talented he is, he won't be someone I have interest in whatsoever. And 9 Being he won't roll out of bed without trying to get his feet on the floor before his significant other. That kind of drive cannot be underestimated.
The tradeoff is you probably are gonna lose some degree of talent which means you will always be the team that doesn't look as good on paper. I.E. the Patriots for example, they always have looked beatable prior to this year but they just find ways to beat you. They have a lot of guys like that but none greater than Brady and Bruschi. Now I am not a fan but these guys get it done and it's their competitive desire that makes them so good.
Of course you need talent, I mean if a guy can't walk my dog without losing him he sure can't be my featured RB or in this case CF. So you need a balance but teams really need to start stressing that part of the player.
Now some guys are so competitive (#10) that they cannot get out of their own way. So a neandrethal with a strong desire for winning to the point they go beyond what's smart, fair or right is a neandrethal and that's it. So he must also have a strong and healthy sense of respect for competition. Knowing that if winning at all costs means not really winning at all, then you have your guy(s).
You couple that with hiring instructors/coaches/managers of the same ilk who actually understand the game and you have a winning combination, IMHYVCO.
Ironically enough that's one of the reasons this board is such a success. It has far more meaningful analysis because of the fire in the bellies of the writers on the board. They work in their spare time to be right about the Reds because, that's what now drives them.
In fact I think we could field one heck of a men's (or co-ed even, sorry VP, Kitty, etc.) softball team, assuming we didn't kill each other in practice I mean after practice discussing Reds baseball
! Of course I should add that we might search for some actual working talent in the midst of this, some of you have been at the computer so long you might pull a hammy getting up to go to the facilities.