Our friends at Revitalization Partners write insightful blogs to help you make effective business decisions. Below is a combination of two of their recent newsletters, involving the NFL and business management. At Juniper Capital, we are committed to sharing business advice to help you achieve successful real estate investments with private money loans in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Share your thoughts on our blogs and social channels, so we can continue to provide you with quality information:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has felt real pressure to resign for his handling of recent controversies, including the Ray Rice incident.
We can look at the overall job performance of Commissioner Goodell, who works for the NFL team owners. Yes, he regulates and reprimands NFL players, but they are represented by a players union- a union that is currently appealing the indefinite suspension of Rice.
With Goodell as Commissioner, the value of NFL teams has risen 32 percent since 2006, off of a very high base. The NFL is the most valuable sports franchise in the world; worth a collective $45 billion.
Goodell has brought progressive issues, such as player head injuries, out of the closet. He has addressed the long-term financial support of injured players and issued new rules to minimize the dangers of playing in the NFL.
He is not quite up to the financial performance of his predecessor, but his performance is still respectable. Has he made mistakes? Yes. Is everyone happy? Of course not. But should those mistakes end his career? Probably not (unless he lied about seeing video of Rice punching his then fiancee).
Let’s contrast Goodell’s response to criticism to that of Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. There are reports that Niners players have turned against the coach and want him out. Rumors have also circulated that Harbaugh is at odds with the CEO of the organization. There is also strong evidence that Harbaugh is already looking for his next job.
Let’s look at his job performance. In 2011, Harbaugh agreed to a 5-year contract after the firing of Mike Singletary. Harbaugh immediately led the team to a 13-3 record in the regular season, winning the NFC West division, and finishing second overall in the NFC by bringing the team to the NFC Championship Game. This was the first time the 49ers had made the playoffs since 2002 NFL, generating widespread praise.
However, there is clearly something wrong within the 49ers this year. It’s visible, sometimes even on TV, in the body language and the interaction of the players with the coach. The team president is tweeting in defense of his coach, but we’ve probably just seen the tip of the iceberg.
What does this have to do with you or your business? Plenty! In almost every company we deal with at Revitalization Partners, there is a real business problem that needs to be solved. The crisis that led to our involvement is often caused by denial and/or ego.
Whether it’s the company president that cut salaries while routing bank loan payments to a personal account, the CEO who took more in compensation and loans in one year than the total gross margin of the company, the company management that turns inventory once a year and attempts to justify it, the family-owned company that requires consensus from all involved family members to make any decision, or the company that borrowed money from the business equivalent of a payday lender to support excessive spending, these events are usually precipitated by a crisis that requires outside intervention. Almost all of the crises were preventable.
If you manage a company, or support management, ask yourself these questions:
· Is the company managed on sound business and financial principles or is the ego of the CEO a driving factor?
· Does everyone connected with the company believe that management operates with integrity?
· Does the senior management listen to knowledgeable advice from both inside and outside the company?
· Can upper management admit mistakes, reflect on them and take action to address them?
· Is there a climate of respect for the opinion of others with respect to decision making?
· Is there tolerance for the mistakes of others, especially those with solid job performance?
· Does management “shoot the messenger”?
While a company’s culture and management arrogance may not be reflected on national television, as with the NFL, the answers to the above can make the difference between the success and failure of a business. Keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to how you answer these questions.
Here are more Lessons From the NFL: Success & Failure
Following the Super Bowl, and despite the Seahawks current season, Pete Carroll is clearly the NFL’s most successful failure. His ability to learn lessons from coaching setbacks can serve as a lesson for all of us.
After coaching the New York Jets to a 6-10 record in 1994, Carroll was fired. After serving as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, he got his second NFL chance as head coach of the New England Patriots. Despite making the playoffs twice in three years, Carroll was again fired. He was out of football until USC hired him as head coach in 2001. Within a few years, his success made USC the place to be for recruits and the story of college football.
When he was hired as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 2009. He took the Seahawks to the playoffs in his first and third seasons. Then, as we well know, he won it all in his fourth season as head coach. He was also recently voted the coach that most NFL players would like to play for.
In 2007, Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. Three years later, he was a first round draft pick of the Denver Broncos. In 2011, he led the Broncos to their first playoff game since 2005. He was subsequently traded and eventually cut by the Jets and Patriots before his brief football career ended.
Unlike Carroll, who achieved success in the NFL after several failures, Tebow experienced failures in a futile quest to succeed in the NFL. However, like Carroll, Tebow learned from his mistakes. A wiser Tebow is rising from the NFL ashes as an ESPN college football commentator and T-Mobile spokesperson.
What is key, though, is that both Carroll and Tebow believed in their abilities and stayed true to their core beliefs throughout the professional roller coaster. Both men also demonstrate an ability to gracefully roll with the punches, maintaining humility and sense of humor in the face of public criticism.
Johnny Manziel knew nothing but success in his early football career. As a quarterback at Texas A&M, he was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. He was then picked by Vegas oddsmakers to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014.
However, significant questions surrounded Manziel’s behavior and attitude. He’s been arrested and charged with three misdemeanors (although two of the charges were eventually dismissed). He departed early from the esteemed Manning Passing Academy, and the NCAA noted his “inadvertent violation” of its rules. Thus far, Manziel’s record has been very different from that of either Carroll or Tebow.
The Cleveland Browns, who drafted Manziel, seem committed to his freewheeling playing style. Although Manziel has been relegated to being a trick-play runner and a change-of-pace substitute. Currently, the Browns seem to think of Manziel as a backup. How is he handling the changes on the football field? Obviously, this early in his first NFL season, it’s too early to tell.
Three Business Lessons
What business lessons can we take away from the failure and success of Carroll and Tebow – and Manziel’s meteoric rise and subsequent placement on the back burner?
1. Early success or failure is not the final outcome of a career – or a company’s lifespan.
Carroll’s perseverance could, and probably will, ultimately, land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In the world of business, he’s similar to Apple, which, after numerous false starts and self-inflicted penalties, has become the most valuable company in the U.S.
2. Circumstances play a huge factor in success or failure – whether it’s our career or a company’s long-term track record.
In Tebow’s case, the fact is that college football and the NFL are fairly different games. The skills required don’t always translate well.
The same is true with small or medium-sized businesses compared to a large corporation. These are very different enterprises, and the skills needed for success in a smaller company are unlike those needed in a Fortune 500 organization.
3. The super-ego is often the defining factor that leads to success or failure – in business or in sports.
There is always a Richard Branson, who has more than succeeded with Virgin, a man of towering and creative brilliance, as well as outsized super-ego. Then there are entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, who has become a joke because he is so completely consumed by his own super-ego.
In Manziel’s case, we don’t know if he has learned lessons from the situations his super-ego put him in, or what role his super-ego will play if he’s given the chance to show what he can do as a pro quarterback. It’s a key human capital issue in pro football, and in business.
For a different view of your business, you can turn to Revitalization Partners… when a company is worth saving.