I read this blog from Dan Coughlin yesterday and loved it. I wanted to share it with you. For all of my friends in management positions, what do you think about it?
I have a good friend, Alan Weiss, who is a graduate of Rutgers University. I’m a grad of the University of Notre Dame. In 2002, ND played Rutgers and was a 40-point favorite. Alan was willing to bet me on the game as long as I gave him the point spread. I should have taken the bet. ND won 42-0. On August 18, 2006, ND was ranked #2 in the country, and Rutgers was not even in the Top 25. Today, 13 months later, ND ranks in the bottom ten teams in the country and Rutgers is in the Top 10. How is this possible, and what does it mean for your business? Here are a few themes that come to my mind:
Leadership & Stability
Greg Schiano, the head football coach at Rutgers, was hired on December 1, 2000. That means he has been there through the bad times and the good times. Here’s his record through the first six seasons:
Is your organization willing to be patient when your senior manager is struggling through a 1-11 season and four losing seasons in a row? Are you as a manager willing to hang in there and keep believing in yourself?
Schiano did, and he never wavered in his goal to win a national championship. He influenced those people that he could at each stage in this seven-year journey. At this point, the story is unfolding for Charlie Weis at ND. Will the university stay patient as he works to build a long-term, successful organization? Will he maintain his patience and confidence in the face of relentless criticism?
When an organization begins to win, or lose, on a regular basis momentum is created. It’s far easier to sustain momentum than to create it or change it. That’s why every play counts. One win that could have been a loss, or one loss that could have been a win, can begin to shift the momentum.
In your business, what small detail or seemingly unimportant project can you propel to a higher level of performance that can generate the momentum you want?
I think the biggest story here is the story of talent management. Rutgers held onto a guy they believed in, and gave him the time he needed to build a successful organization. In those same seven years that Schiano has been at Rutgers, ND has been through three coaches, and a lot of people want Weis fired for losing six games in a row while giving up over 30 points in each game.
The first step in attracting, retaining, and developing talented employees is attracting, retaining, and developing a talented senior manager. Be patient.
The second lesson on talent management is that great players make great coaches, and great coaches make great players. In other words, Schiano became National Coach of the Year when he had the players necessary to win. I doubt he became that much better of a coach in the four years it took to go from 1-11 to 11-2, but I have a hunch his players got a whole lot better.
Always work to improve the quality of the performers in your organization if you want to improve the quality of your organization’s performance.
To read more blogs from Dan Coughlin, go to http://dancoughlin.typepad.com/
The University of Kentucky is experiencing similar results with Head Football Coach Rich Brooks. Hired as the team was entering an era of NCAA sanctions, Brooks has enjoyed the administration’s full support as he struggled to field teams that could compete in the SEC while handicapped by scholarship restrictions and what is (to be honest) a tradition of being one of the doormats of the SEC. His approach – and the University’s support in the face of much fan criticism – has resulted in his building a team that is proving that it can compete at the highest levels and should continue to do so for years to come.