The "Coaches" of Business

There's only one good thing that comes with the end of summer.... are you ready for some football! Yes I have to admit I'm a football junkie and opening day can't come soon enough for me. There's nothing like the experience of sitting in an NFL stadium (The Ralph) watching a game. The atmosphere is unmistakable as thousands of fans form an unspoken bond that turns strangers into best friends. But for me, it's more than just the atmosphere or the game itself, it's about the coaches and the strategies they deploy to influence the outcome of the game. To me, coaches are just like CEOs. They are results driven leaders seeking the best from their players. They have to balance the needs of owners (investors), players (employees) and fans (customers). And just like a CEO, are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the team. The late great Vince Lombardi once said “Running a football team is no different than running any other organization ... some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing - the result."

Over the years I've had the privilege to watch some of the greatest coaches in NFL history. I've learned a lot about leadership, organization, passion, innovation and culture by watching these legends inspire their players to greatness. Below are my favorite words of wisdom from the coaching greats that I've tried to remember as I walk through life and manage our business.

  • “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence ...if you’re in control, they’re in control” (Tom Landry)
  • “Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble” (John Madden)
  • “You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else” (Bum Phillips)
  • “If you are afraid of confrontation, you are not going to do very well” (Bill Parcells)
  • “On a team, it’s not the strength of the individual, but it’s the strength of the team and how they all function together” (Bill Belichick)
  • “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing” (Chuck Noll)
  • “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it” (George S. Halas)
  • “When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less” (Paul Brown)
  • “Adversity is an opportunity for heroism” (Marv Levy)
  • “I’ve observed that if individuals who prevail in a highly competitive environment have one thing in common besides success, it is failure and their ability to overcome it” (Bill Walsh) 

Opening day is just around the corner as football Nirvana 2015 is about to begin. Van Miller, the longtime voice of the Buffalo Bills, recently passed away. He had the privilege to call the greatest comeback in NFL history as the Buffalo Bills erased a 35-3 3rd quarter deficit to shock the Houston Oilers 41-38 in an AFC Playoff game in 1993. I can still hear Van's voice after the Bills stormed back "It's bedlam, it's pandemonium, it's fandemonium, it's fantastic..."