On Monday, Sveum was dismissed as the Cubs manager after two seasons.
"You come in and get a job like this, and you want to see it through, and you're very disappointed that you didn't get anything started," he said, standing in the parking lot outside Wrigley Field after a one-hour conversation with Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations.
Sveum's coaching staff, which included his former Brewers teammates, Chris Bosio and Rob Deer, also were dismissed, although some could be retained, depending on the new Cubs manager.
"We accomplished a lot," Sveum said of his coaching staff. "Obviously, it wasn't good enough."
Neither Epstein nor Sveum would be specific as to the reasons why a change was made, but Epstein said he did indicate the priority with the next manager will be development of young players.
"It's hard to hire managers," Epstein said. "It's clear Dale did some very productive things in two years. It's clear that we're transitioning from a phase where we're just acquiring young talent, most of whom we haven't seen up here yet, to a phase where that talent will start to come up in the next few years.
"It would've been very personally satisfying on a lot of levels for Dale to have been the guy who grew with the organization and made it through the early part of the building phase into the phase when our best talent comes up here, into the phase where we win," Epstein said. "It didn't happen."
Sveum, who turns 50 on Nov. 23, first worked for Epstein when he was a coach with the Red Sox.
"I think he'll go on to have success elsewhere," Epstein said of Sveum. "But [the Cubs' front office] know what we're doing. I've hired two managers. One's Terry Francona, who may be on his way to the Hall of Fame, another is Dale, who did a lot of productive things here in two years. We have one of the best farm systems in baseball. We couldn't be more excited about our future. I think we'll find the manager who can help take us to the next level."
Sveum was credited for developing young hitters such as Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun when he was the hitting coach in Milwaukee.
"I've done this, I've produced a lot of good players and developed them, and obviously, it didn't work out here," he said.
Sveum had to endure roster turnover each year, as the front office focused on acquiring talent. The Cubs organization is much stronger now than it was when he took the job, Sveum said.
"The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and closer," Sveum said. "The organization is completely 100 percent more healthy than it was two years ago.
"That's the biggest disappointment, is going in, you knew you had this vision of when it is going to happen, and being part of a world championship here," he said. "Not being here when all these players get here -- that's the biggest disappointment."
What's next for Sveum? He was headed to Mexico for a vacation with his wife. But he doesn't want to be away from the game for long.
"I love coming to the park, I loved managing, I love every part of baseball," Sveum said. "That's in me, that's who I am. I love being at the ballpark. I enjoyed every single minute of it. I wish it could've lasted longer. We do all these jobs to be fired, and unfortunately, this one was a little bit quick."