April 9, 2024

Change4Change's Sake

Recently I read an article in The Roanoke Times about the Virginia Tech athletic director. He was talking about hiring big-time coaches and how that process works. The first football coach he hired happened after one relatively quick meeting and an on-the-fly negotiation. The whole process took place within a few days.

Coaching changes always make sports news and often cross into the mainstream media. Hires are done with multiple teams competing for the same big-name leaders, and as the VT AD shared, the decisions are made fast and for big dollars. Mistakes can cost millions or tens of millions of dollars. In fact, just a few months ago, an NBA professional basketball coach was fired in his first year after just 43 games (with a 33-10 record).

What is happening in the sports world that applies to those of us in business and industry?

Over the past decade, the NFL has had an average of 6.2 head coaching job openings each year. This year, as the NFL prepares for their annual draft in the next few weeks, there are eight new coaches leading their teams. One third of the teams will have new multimillion-dollar coaches in charge by the start of the season.

Bringing It2Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

The owners of these professional franchises and the front office personnel aren't likely to admit they've made a mistake. Players are getting paid a lot of money. Blame must go somewhere. Naturally, it s the leader s fault.  Let s fire the coach and see if a new voice can lead the team in a new and better direction.

Often the coaching approach switches from a  players coach,  who can identify with the team, to a disciplinarian who demands conformation. Then they switch back when that doesn't work. While many teams in the NFL have changed coaches multiple times, one team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, has had only three coaches over the past 54 years. All three of them have had winning records and won at least one Super Bowl. Remember, this article isn't about sports, it s about business.

Think for a moment about the value of consistency.

Most of you have your team, your clients, your prospects, and yourself in the mirror. You've put faith in the employees you have in place. You've weathered the storms, helped them improve, coached them as they coached others, and determined what wasn't working right when things weren't going well. Skip the scapegoat mentality and focus on improvement and better outcomes. If you can improve your leadership, that s the best course. You don't have a group of media outlets breathing down your neck or hundreds of thousands of fans screaming for change. It s your decision to make and yours to live with. Do all you can for them before making your own  coaching change for change's sake.

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