Archive for the ‘ Leadership Descriptions ’ Category

ACC, ESPN, and Raycom Deal is Evidence of the Importance of Relationship Building in Business

Raycom Sports has covered ACC sporting events since 1979 and both entities have helped one another prosper over time.

In the 4-10 October 2010 issue of Sports Business Journal, an article by Michael Smith and John Ourand titled, “History with ACC secures future for Raycom,” covered how the long-term relationship between the ACC and Raycom saved the latter from possibly losing its biggest media contract and main revenue stream.  Their article is the basis of today’s post and a starting point for my conclusions.

Basically, North Carolina-based Raycom simply could not match bids with networks like ESPN and Fox – who were both vying for the conference’s rights – nor survived negotiations without CEO Ken Haines or his staff’s efforts to underscore the role Raycom has played in the ACC’s history over the past thirty years.  Nevertheless, talks between ESPN and the ACC would eventually end with a $1.86 billion contract that goes into effect at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, according to Smith and Ourand’s article.  Where does that leave Raycom?

I Remember the Time You Helped Me when I Needed it Most… Thank You (And You Have Been Here for Me all of these Years… Thanks)

When ESPN launched in 1979, it faced the challenges all start-ups face, not to mention the level of competition found in the sports industry.  Raycom sold the rights to some of its ACC basketball games to ESPN in the early 80s, giving ESPN a chance to establish itself.  Later, in 1993, Raycom sold the rights to a Duke-North Carolina basketball game that allowed ESPN2 (the network’s new channel) to enter the scene with a fair degree of credibility, according to Smith and Ourand.  As the decades came and went, ESPN grew and became the premier sports network in the US.  As for Raycom, it remained in its market and built on its relationship with the ACC.

Raycom CEO Ken Haines (right, with Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tim Newman) says, “We really are the marketing and corporate relationship arm of the conference.” (caption taken from 4-10 October issue of Sports Business Journal)

Through the Summer of 2010, Raycom was in the fight of its life to secure a deal with the ACC that would guarantee its survival.  “Everyone involved in the negotiations cited Raycom’s 31-year history as the main reason it was able to strike a deal,” wrote Smith and Ourand of the negotiations between the ACC, ESPN, and eventually Raycom.  According to Smith and Ourand’s article, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, “It tugged at me… We wanted to keep Raycom as a partner, but we had to do what was in the ACC’s best interests.  That we got the deal we got and kept Raycom involved was icing on the cake.”  Indeed, Haines used Raycom’s history with both the ACC and ESPN as a major talking point during negotiations.  The product: a $50 million a year sub-licensing contract between ESPN and Raycom that secured at least 50 North Carolina jobs for the next twelve years.  If you look in either Smith and Ourand’s article or Raycom’s website, you will find some of the particulars of that deal.  Essentially, Raycom keeps “ACC football and basketball, [remains as] holder of regional cable rights, administration of ACC Properties and management of all ACC digital platforms including operation of theacc.com, and the official conference web site,” according the Raycom.com.

Conclusions

While the bottom line influences all smart business deals, it is not the only path to follow during negotiations.  There is a popular misconception that business is simply cold and harsh, and defined by cliches in popular culture such as the great “Wall Street” villain Gordon Gekko when he famously states that “greed is good.”  Indeed, management and leadership must act with the company’s/stakeholders’ interests in mind, but managers who lead both prosperous and honorable careers and leaders who earn the respect of their peers do not forget those who helped them along the way.

Without Raycom’s willingness to sell rights to some of its hottest properties to a new competitor also struggling for credibility (ESPN and ESPN2) so long ago, or its loyalty to the ACC over 31 years, ESPN and the ACC would have spent more time and resources searching elsewhere for rights to quality programming and securing media service for its properties and events.  Whether in business or life itself, one always appreciates another’s efforts to make life a little bit easier.  Sure, one cannot dismiss the fact that Raycom has profited from these relationships over the past thirty years in one way or another, but so have ESPN and the ACC.  In fact, all parties must benefit if a relationship is expected to function well and last a long time (Raycom, ESPN, and the ACC prove this concept).

A long time ago, I learned an important lesson from the greatest people I have ever known (my parents, grandmother, and brother – and am reminded of it every day by theirs and my fiancee’s unyielding example) and would like to emphasize today.  Remember that as long as one dutifully conducts oneself with honor, integrity, and can walk in and out of an establishment with his or her head held high, there is no failure to fret about nor any outcome to fear.  In fact, it is one of the best methods of achieving success and fueling confidence in any endeavor.  This is an irrefutable truth that we must exemplify throughout our lives in order to be truly successful and thoroughly satisfied at the end of the day.

Cam Suarez-Bitar.

Thanks, as always, for your readership.  This article is a tribute to all of who have played a positive role in my life.  From friends and instructors who have provided both wisdom and support, to my family and future wife who have not only helped make me the man I am today, but indeed make this world a better place through their words, actions, and love.

Jack Welch, of General Electric Fame, Knows How to Win and Lead (Part 2 – Conclusion)

We Have the Philosophy, Players, and the Goal… Now, How do We Win?

After a manager hires a group of individuals who believe in the mission and embody the organization’s values, he is ready to lead.  When I was employed by another organization several years ago, though, I used the few resources I had available to communicate with my colleagues and learn the organization’s values and mission.  Unfortunately, back then I was unable to speak with certainty if asked about what the entity really was “all about.”  Their mission and values were ill-defined.

While there, however, I took it upon myself to apply the first two tenets Welch presents on leadership: “before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself” (Welch, 2005, p. 61) and “when you become a leader, success is all about growing others” (Welch, 2005, p. 61).  The entire discussion on leadership in Winning is the book’s most organized and compelling section.  After presenting the two overarching rules mentioned above, Welch breaks his thoughts on leadership into eight elements that, in the end, are directly related to an understanding of corporate culture and effective communication.

The first rule, “leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence,” I followed closely in my dealings with coworkers.  I made it a point to positively influence my colleagues with simple and honest expressions (a literal “pat on the back,” encouraging words, constructive criticism, etc.) meant only to help them enjoy doing their jobs a bit more.  Welch also recommends that you “make sure the right people are in the right jobs,” and I feel that HR did a fairly good job of placing the right people in the department  (Welch, 2005, p. 65).  I always complimented members who did a good job, exchanged knowledge and opinions with them, and helped a bit more when someone did not deliver for any of a myriad of reasons; as a football coach and player, I learned the value of coaching whenever possible.

Unfortunately, I was not in a position to follow through on Welch’s second instruction: set the team’s vision and make it “come alive” (Welch, 2005, p. 67).  I embodied it as best I could, but the organization did not empower me to affect or change that employer’s corporate culture.  In any case, the third rule in his list emphasizes the importance of exuding a positive attitude and how its spread to all levels of the corporate structure can “catch” an unhappy colleague and change her overall work experience for the better (Welch, 2005, p. 70).  After all, you need to be happy if you are going to win.

Fourth on Welch’s list is a leader’s need to “establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit” (Welch, 2005, p. 70).  This sounds an awful lot like coaching.  Welch asserts that “trust happens when leaders are transparent, candid, and keep their word.  It’s that simple,” (Welch, 2005, p. 71).  While employed by the entity I am referring to here, I always kept my promises and actually over-delivered on them whenever possible.  Now, candor, as Welch defines it, is difficult to maintain without sounding cold or harsh when you speak to coworkers who still do not trust you.  Therefore, it is imperative that you establish professional relationships with them and uphold your own standards of excellence.  Fifth, Welch claims, “leaders [must] have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.”  I proposed to upper management that we ought to implement a new strategy that improves communication within the department – simply not relying too much on electronic or impersonal communication and allowing for more face-to-face encounters when practical is an easy way to improve communication within a team or department.  This leads me to Welch’s sixth point.

Leaders ought to be curious and almost skeptical in order to ensure that “their questions are answered with action” (Welch, 2005, p. 73).  Welch suggests that one must be ready to ask tough questions.  A leader must be inquisitive if he expects to understand his employees’ roles and create tailor-made and appropriate paths toward the team’s ultimate vision of success.  Next, Welch explains that winners must always be willing to continue learning and take risks since he leads by example.  Managers should not “urge their people to try new things and then whack them in the head when they fail” and consequently appear to contradict themselves (Welch, 2005, p. 76).  That would severely handicap their credibility as leaders.  A leader should support such an employee by telling her that it is okay to fail and to learn from the experience.  Finally, we arrive at rule number 8: leaders must celebrate (Welch, 2005, p. 78)!  Simply put, a leader should not hesitate to throw a party after a great achievement.  Welch, though, feels that prizes and passes to special events are better since employees can enjoy them at their leisure and not necessarily with coworkers (Welch, 2005, p. 78).

Now, I will lead myself over to my living room and celebrate with some Gershwin and my fiancée.  Refreshed and renewed, I will be ready for the next article.

Cam Suarez-Bitar.

Thank you for your readership and patience.  Last night, when I arrived home at about 10:30 PM and started typing this article, I fell asleep at my desk.  That is the only reason why I did not publish it on Monday as my articles always are.  What a week…

Jack Welch, of General Electric Fame, Knows How to Win and Lead (Part 1)

Introduction

Jack Welch is a candid man.  His entire book is a series of candid responses to the questions his fans and audiences at seminars would ask ranging from his views on Six Sigma and leadership to the status of his golf game and whether or not he thinks he will go to heaven.  His book was inspired by the inquisitive, “energized, curious, gutsy, and ambitious men and women who have loved business enough to ask me every possible question you could imagine” (Welch, 2005, p. 1, p. 9).  Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, Winning provides essential insights on success and leadership without making the eyelids heavy.

The first section of Winning is “conceptual” and treats a wide variety of Welch’s philosophies and explains his stance on the importance of a strong mission statement and “concrete values” (Welch, 2005, p. 7); essentially, Welch opens his 362-page lesson on winning in business with advise on how to create a corporate culture.  The second is about leadership and issues regarding human resources.   More specifically, in this unit, Welch teaches the reader how to lead as he did, find a suitable supporting cast in the office, and delegate appropriately (more on this unit in the following section of my review).

The next covers how to grow your business organically, design effective strategies, and other aspects of business directly affected by environmental factors.  He nearly mocks how “experts tend to talk about strategy – as if it is some kind of high-brain scientific methodology” and explains why managers must sometimes compromise their instincts if the organization’s leaders take a calculated risk and choose to grow organically by launching a new product or providing new services (Welch, 2005, p. 165, p. 205).  The organization can also grow through mergers and acquisitions, but can become blinded by a certain insidious frenzy to acquire an entity that only worsens as more bidders appear on the scene (Welch, 2005, p. 221).  Welch warns against not checking such behavior in Unit Three.  In the fourth, he talks about how to manage “the arc and the quality of your professional life” (Welch, 2005, p. 7-8), teaches patience in seeking a promotion and provides insights on how to identify the perfect job.

Then, he ends the book with a unit on miscellaneous questions that simply do not fit into either of the aforementioned categories (Welch, 2005, p. 7-8).  Among other topics, it focuses on China as both a nation and question looming in the minds of many managers and workers all over the world and how businesses in just about every continent are feeling the pressure.  Of course, as only he can, Welch enlivens all of his answers with a certain frankness and sparse use of mild expletives from page to page.

Now, before I tie in the key concept – leadership – an attempt to contextualize it within corporate culture is due.  After all, one cannot lead a team that lacks a clear mission and set of values, for they are the guidelines a leader must follow in order to resonate with both employees and the business as organic entities.  In such a situation, a leader would be hard pressed to formulate the organization’s values with his colleagues’ assistance and even compose a new mission statement.

The Context: Leadership Cannot Exist Without a Clear Mission or Values

Early in the book, Welch addresses missions and values: two terms he feels are “among the most abstract, overused, misunderstood words in business… [and] business schools add to the confusion by having their students regularly write mission statements and debate values… in a vacuum” (Welch, 2005, p. 13).  In this section, he emphasizes that mission statements should not leave your employees feeling cynical or lost; in fact, he states that a mission statement should delineate how the business will win (Welch, 2005, p. 14).  When creating a mission statement, the composer ought not to trouble herself with political correctness or hurting another senior executive’s feelings.  Instead, it ought to be based on the company’s strengths and weaknesses and set it on course to profitably achieve the goal.  He proceeds to mention anecdotal evidence of how General Electric’s top-level management team wrote a mission statement grounded in reality (not ridiculously overambitious or at all vague) that made its employees feel important.

Welch also mentions how Ben and Jerry’s, the liberal-minded ice cream company, actually considered stakeholders, profits, and sustainable growth in its relatively long yet clear mission statement.  Values also received due attention in this section.   Welch defines them toward the end of this discussion as “just behaviors – specific, nitty-gritty, and so descriptive they leave little to the imagination” (Welch, 2005, p. 17).  Toward the end of this chapter, he refers to how Bank One’s list of specific behaviors made its values tangible and real.  Effective creation of values requires specificity, clarity, and the active participation of many members of the organization since behaviors help define the corporate culture.  They must be representative of employees’ ethics and vice-versa.  After dealing with the most important internal factors in interpersonal relations at the office, Welch turns to his discussion on the company itself and leadership.

So, with a satisfactory understanding of “Welchian” corporate culture and how to set the tone for how members of your team will approach their work, we segue to the next concept.  The team knows the job at hand.  Now it is time to lead them to the goal.

<to be continued in next week’s post>

Cam Suarez-Bitar

Here is the bibliographical data on Welch’s book:

Welch, Jack and Welch, Suzy.  (2005).  Winning.  New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Thank you for your readership and stay tuned… next week I will add the section directly related to leadership.

What is Leadership – How Do I Lead a Team?

Tom Rath, author of the number 1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller Strengths Finder 2.0, states in his own italics that “people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general… having someone at work who regularly focuses on your strengths can make a dramatic difference [as well].”  He also adds that the manager who completely ignores you is even worse than the one who primarily focuses on your weaknesses; however, he completes his thought by writing that a boss who focuses on your strengths can actually help you not be absolutely miserable at work.  Finally, he contends that “the epidemic of active disengagement we see in workplaces every day could be a curable disease… if we can help the people around us develop their strengths.”  There is a great want in our society for effective and admirable leaders, and after understanding some of the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to possess, we are better prepared to not only lead a group towards a great vision, but to also lead ourselves down an ever-winding and constantly evolving path of life.

Even though this week’s topic will not focus particularly on the sports industry, it is applicable in any setting where leadership is wanted and that includes a league or team’s front office.  What is a leader and how does an effective leader engage her staff?  What is the most important characteristic an effective leader must possess?  These are the questions at the core of this week’s discussion.

What is Leadership?  How do I Engage and Lead My Team?

According to Peter G. Northouse, author of Leadership: Theory and Practices, it “is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”  This is the definition I will use for the remainder of this discussion.

Now, as Rath implies in his book, an effective leader creates a positive environment for her staff.  Not all corporate cultures identify a leader by their rank in the company; basically, as Professor John Cooper of Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies asserts, some leaders emerge from a group that views them as the most influential members of a team regardless of their title while others gain leader status by occupying a certain position within an organization. The latter is called “Formal Leadership” while the former is known as “Emergent Leadership.”  Indeed, individuals need not follow only one path to leadership; in fact, the environment plays a major role in defining the way.

Even though leadership requires the use of power, it alone will not make you a leader.  Styles are an important part of leadership and how well a leader knows her team will determine how she will engage in task behaviors and relationship behaviors.  A leader must know how much facilitation and guidance the team needs to successfully complete a task without being guilty of either coercive or impoverished management.  She also ought to gauge the team’s need to rely on the leader’s ability to foster relationships and determine how much she must help the team feel comfortable within the work environment.  If a leader does not measure this need well, she could appear to be indifferent to team members’ feelings or much too casual.

So, Cooper recommends that leaders engage their team by exhibiting certain task behaviors, such as: setting clear expectations; evaluating performance and results regularly; setting priorities; communicating both deadlines and milestones; address performance problems; and assigning roles and responsibilities.  He adds that some relationship behaviors leaders ought to exhibit are: include employees in the decision-making process; find ways to encourage; identify and intervene to reduce conflict; coaching; being an excellent listener; maintain a friendly demeanor; and spend time thinking and acting on their development by addressing their weaknesses and focusing on their own strengths.

In the end, Professor Cooper points to Collins’ findings on what he calls “Level 5 Leadership” and explains that the latter requires leaders to exhibit personal humility and professional will, above all.  Lastly, Cooper states that Level 5 Leadership requires a truly effective leader to place the ambition of the company before her ego, be least likely to credit herself when things go right and take the blame when they go wrong, do what needs to be done, and build a lasting organization by empowering team members to rise above their limits.

More information on Level 5 Leadership can be found in Collins’ book Good to Great.  In it, he explains how an effective leader can shift a company’s performance from good to great by studying over a dozen companies he examined.

What is the Most Important Characteristic a Leader Must Possess?

Theoretically speaking, an effective leader is mindful of several factors.  First, she focuses on her personality traits – the distinguishing qualities or inherited characteristics that uniquely influence her thoughts, motivations, and behaviors in a myriad of settings – and use one of her most valuable tools, self awareness, to identify her strengths and weaknesses.  Next, she is keenly aware of her skills and abilities.  Once she is done looking inward, she takes inventory of the behaviors and styles she presents and possesses that an effective leader must master.  Next, she understands the context in which she leads and make a thorough assessment of the team’s culture, situation, members, tasks, and needs.  Lastly, an effective leader must be adaptable enough to adjust her styles and behaviors to fit the context.

By bearing these ideas in mind, one is more apt to better engage team members and lead more effectively.  Cooper mentioned that emotional intelligence – the capacity to recognize our own and others’ feelings and manage emotions well in ourselves and others –  involves self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management and stands as the most valuable asset in a leader’s arsenal.

While there is certainly a broad collection of adjectives that describe a good leader, all those discussed in the above sections have proven both accurate and precise in many theoretical models as evidenced in Peter G. Northouse’s book and John A. Cooper’s academic research and experience as a leadership and organization effectiveness consultant .

Closing Remarks

It appears that an effective and admirable leader is well aware of her strengths and weaknesses, her team’s needs, and the context of the situation.  She possesses a compelling modesty and is gracious, mild-mannered, and willful.  Like Vince Lombardi evidently exemplified in the article I wrote last month, an effective leader must challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, model the way, and encourage the heart.  These are five elements in Kouzes and Posner’s prescriptive model on leadership.  Cooper includes undesirable attributes in his discussion, such as: being a loner, irritable, ruthless, asocial, vague, dictatorial, noncooperative, and egocentric.  Awareness of the organization’s culture and the leader’s capacity to acclimate are vital to a leader’s effectiveness.  In the 5 Factor Model, extraversion stands as the most important element among the other four: openness to experience, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and agreeableness (the least important of all).

Lastly, according to Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee in Resonant Leadership, the leader’s great personal challenge is how well she can manage the cycle of sacrifice and renewal through mindfulness, hope, and compassion.

Even if one does not necessarily long to lead a group towards a distant destination set atop a clear and grand vision, knowing how to lead enables you to lead yourself towards your goals through both expected and unexpected challenges.  After all, no one but you decides to rise in the morning, close your eyes as you drift to sleep, and engage in the activities that define the hours in between.  Leadership ability prepares the individual to willfully pursue the goals that are inspired by even the loftiest of dreams.  In the end, even though it was not discussed here, a thorough understanding of leadership also creates a knowledgeable, skilled, empowered, and able follower.

A knowledge of leadership can lead to welcome and unexpected results.

Cam Suarez-Bitar.

This article would not have been possible without the lessons I learned in Professor John A. Cooper’s class.  The books Leadership: Theory and Practice; Strengths Finder 2.0; and Resonant Leadership played a vital role in the arguments I made above.  They provide clear and well-reasoned arguments on leadership theories and the challenges leaders face in today’s society.  Also, thank you for your continued readership and participation.

Vince Lombardi’s Leadership and the Path to Wisdom

Today, I will discuss how Vince Lombardi changed the Green Bay Packers’ entire culture and made champions out of underachievers.  For this analysis, I draw from Peter G. Northouse’s book Leadership, Jake Emen’s article “Vince Lombardi: A Case Study in the Art of Leadership” (available at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/292814/vince_lombardi_a_case_study_in_the.html?cat=9) notes from Professor Cooper’s class, and my own experiences.  In the end, we will discover how sports can change not only athletes, but the audience itself (my closing paragraph includes bits of wisdom I devised from Lombardi’s actions and words); in fact, it is my contention that there is a great deal of wisdom to be gained by taking a thoughtful look at the leadership philosophy that the greatest coach in NFL history embodied and exemplified.  Indeed, Lombardi led by example and emphasized discipline, fearlessness, confidence, vision and direction, practicality, responsibility, honesty, commitment, power, and integrity; also, he always had faith in himself and his players and is revered for his wisdom by football historians and fans alike.

Vince Lombardi turned a team mired in mediocrity into one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history.  By the end of the 1960s, the Green Bay Packers won 96 games and became the winningest team of the decade.  This was not automatic, though.  Lombardi knew that a significant change within the organization and in the hearts of his players was necessary to succeed.  He walked onto the practice field and instantly introduced a culture of discipline and fearlessness to a team previously led by an easy-going and soft spoken coach; in fact, he restructured a failed team culture of casual t-shirt wearing football players to professionals who projected a winning image and wore blazers and ties when traveling to another city to play a road game.  He invited any nonbelievers to “get the hell out” and his confidence in himself spread to his players.  Emen quotes Bart Starr, the Packers’ quarterback, as stating, “I think we’re going to begin to win,” soon after Lombardi’s arrival in Green Bay.  Lombardi’s authority, self-confidence, and discipline helped him seize leadership of the team and instill faith in his philosophy in his players’ hearts.  He never lapsed into unprofessionalism and his players admired him for it.  Most of all, according to Northwestern University professor John Cooper, Managing Partner at Milestone Partners, LLC, a leader must influence a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.  Lombardi accomplished that without a hitch and led them to multiple NFL championships and two Super Bowl titles.

Lombardi created a new atmosphere on the football field as well.  His solutions to opponents’ defenses were simple and required his players to think for themselves.  He placed great emphasis on punctuality and expected his players to arrive 15 minutes early to every practice.  Now, Northouse describes the style approach to leadership as being a balancing act between task behaviors (those that help group members achieve their goals) and relationship behaviors (actions that enhance a group member’s comfort within the organization), and even though Lombardi formed relationships with his players and some of them even grew to love him (though most feared him), he always focused on goal accomplishment no matter what the cost.  His honesty prevented him from giving compliments to players who did not deserve them even if it meant that it would lessen an underachieving player’s frustration, and his commitment to excellence made it absolutely impossible.  According to Emen, Willie Wood’s confidence all but disappeared completely after failing over and over again in practice.  Lombardi waited until just the right moment to give him a pat on the back for a job well done thereby restoring his confidence; again, Lombardi did not care as much about hurting people’s feelings as he did about winning.  In Wood’s case, we see how Lombardi used the right amount of pressure to bring out the best in his players.  To this day, Forrest Gregg bears the greatest compliment that coach Lombardi ever gave a player: public recognition as the finest player he ever coached.  It was an assertion Lombardi made much later in his life.  Lombardi never rewarded underachievers or anyone who gave less to the team than he did.  Because he gave so much of himself to the team, every single player pushed way beyond his own limits and learned something new about himself after each practice session and game.  He believed that coaching involved teaching, and that the only way someone will follow you is if you show them why your ideas work.  All in all, the Packers saw results on the scoreboard and their opponents gritting their teeth in frustration; after only one season, they believed in Lombardi’s philosophy and embodied it, for Lombardi himself was the living manifestation of the ideas he professed and taught.  He certainly led by example and relied on his wisdom and integrity to gain his players’ admiration.

Lastly, Professor Cooper stated that self-awareness is a key component in effective leadership.  Keen self-awareness requires a high degree of wisdom (knowledge of life itself) and vice-versa: through insight, one’s experiences will reveal one’s strengths and weaknesses.  Through sports (in this case football), one can truly gain much wisdom by observing with a watchful and critical eye.  Each player on a football team has a specialized role, much like our own personality traits, values, and different forms of knowledge play unique roles in defining who we are.  Even if one does not aim to lead a team on the gridiron or a group of any kind, one must be able to lead oneself down a path to success.  In fact, the individual’s team consists of her values, knowledge, skills, and abilities, and she must know how to manage them in order to achieve ultimate success.  Like Lombardi was with his players, one ought to be with oneself.

It is discipline that will win the day.  A fear of failure quickly becomes a fear to try.  Self-confidence makes your goal the constant in an environment defined by variables.  It is only with a clear vision of one’s goal and a map with distinctly marked milestones that attainment becomes possible.  It is within the context of one’s own circumstances that practical plans must be drawn to delineate how a goal will be reached and when.  Responsibility is the difference between preparing for a struggle and struggling to prepare.  Honesty with oneself reveals one’s strengths and weaknesses, and only by employing and addressing them will one truly know the magnitude of one’s potential.  Commitment keeps one focused on the job at hand and will make success the only acceptable outcome.  With a powerful mind, heart, and spirit, a man is a gentleman and a woman a lady.  It is one’s integrity that, upon doing what is right, would make receiving any attention for it unattractive.

These are just a few lessons I can draw from Lombardi’s values (as listed in the first paragraph) and leadership style.  What lessons for leading yourself through life can you derive from his methods of leading the Green Bay Packers?

Cam Suarez-Bitar.

I would like to thank Professor John Cooper for showing me different theories on leadership throughout the course of the Fall semester.  They provide a structure for different sets of behavioral patterns and actions and allow me to recognize the practices that apply to specific situations.  A better understanding of leadership not only equips you to be a better leader, but also allows you to judge the actions of the leaders in your life with a heightened awareness of their needs and thought processes.  And as always, thank you for your support and readership.

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