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Archive: Sports Leadership

Focus on the fans

George Cohen must provide constant reminders that what matters most to both the owners and the players is fan loyalty...

By Robert Goodwin | March 12, 2011; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Offering middle ground

George Cohen, unfortunately, will not see or speak to the most recalcitrant partisans on either side, but only with their selected representatives...

By Slade Gorton | March 9, 2011; 04:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Cooler heads prevail

Cohen needs to continue a closed-door policy throughout the negotiations. Limiting leaks to the...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | March 9, 2011; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (8)

Helping both sides manage loss

The resistance to a new NFL contract comes from the threat or reality of loss...

By Marty Linsky | March 9, 2011; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Separating egos from the issue

In tough and emotional negotiations, a mediator must initially work hard to find mutual...

By West Point Cadets | March 9, 2011; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (4)

Mediating between players and owners

In the case of the NFL, neither party seems to be thinking about the fans and each seems aware of the other's thinking which is all about getting a bigger piece of the pie...

By Michael Maccoby | March 8, 2011; 08:18 PM ET | Comments (2)

The negotiation process

he most important thing a great negotiator must do is establish a process that will determine how the parties can...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | March 8, 2011; 08:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

How a mediator should look

In American society, eye contact is important for persuasion and communication. The rule of thumb is to look at the person who is speaking until...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | March 8, 2011; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Reason, incentives and coercion

This I learned the hard way--very hard!--as director of President Reagan's arms control agency negotiating nuclear weapons cuts with the Soviets in the 1980s...

By Ken Adelman | March 8, 2011; 02:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

Show some care for the average fan

The difference in net worth between owners, players and the average person in this country is greater than it has ever been...

By Marshall Goldsmith | March 8, 2011; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (4)

Getting real about what's at stake

Nowhere on the planet is so much energy being expended when so little is at stake...

By John Baldoni | March 8, 2011; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (6)

How Cohen can influence the process

Failure to come to agreement will likely be extremely costly for both sides--my guess is he will remind them of that frequently...

By Deborah Kolb | March 8, 2011; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (4)

Deal or no deal?

The owners perceive players as disrespectful and entitled. The players view the owners as greedy and unsympathetic to the long-term risks of playing professional football...

By Coro Fellows | March 8, 2011; 07:40 AM ET | Comments (16)

The coach: Mike Krzyzewski

In a year where upstarts like the Tea Party and Mark Zuckerberg are hailed and covered, I will take the leader with a career of excellence...

By Peter Hart | December 22, 2010; 05:45 PM ET | Comments (5)

When what you do outweighs who you are

A cloud of allegations hovers over this year's Heisman recipient, and a shadow has been cast on his character and on the integrity of those who chose him. In his case, fact and fiction are somewhat muddled; but what is clear is...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 16, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cam being Cam

Once in an interview in response to the question '"How do you manage all those newly rich, testosterone-rich, self-absorbed men on a professional football team?" Bill Parcells answered exactly the opposite...

By Marty Linsky | December 15, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Recruiting character and talent

When Joe Gibbs was building the Washington Redskins into Superbowl champions, his stated criteria for drafting players was...

By Michael Maccoby | December 14, 2010; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

One strike and you're out

No exceptions, no matter how high your station, no matter how important you are to the organization. When you violate the fundamental rules of the institutional culture...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 14, 2010; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

The meaning of an asterisk

Add Cam Newton's reception of the Heisman Trophy to the long list of examples of athletic "excellence" coming before sports "integrity." Many names come to mind, but the quintessential example...

By Coro Fellows | December 13, 2010; 11:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Strong character trumps perfection

As a veteran executive once told me, hire for character. Don't expect to develop something that is not there. If a person lacks a moral compass, don't think you...

By John Baldoni | December 13, 2010; 06:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

The road to ruin

Yes, Cam Newton is an incredible football player (I love watching him play), but we must care about the total person we hold up for emulation in our society. This is about repairing, not maintaining, the moral fiber of...

By Don Vandergriff | December 13, 2010; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 13, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Don't care about values? At least stop pretending

it all depends on how important a culture of integrity is. If it is essential (as it is for many top organizations), then you must reward, penalize, hire and fire to that value. But if you aren't going to do that, at least have the courtesy and honesty to delete that...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | December 13, 2010; 02:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

How Pelosi is like KU's Coach Gill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a situation many authority figures face when they are linked to poor results. But Pelosi can take heart, she has a kindred spirit here in the Heartland. University of Kansas head football coach, Turner Gill, isn't a politician, but his job is political. As does Pelosi, Gill makes his living in a full-contact activity. Each also faces a growing chorus of detractors wanting...

By Ed O'Malley | November 9, 2010; 07:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Steinbrenner: Getting the best at any cost

The Yankees had a man at the helm who would stop at nothing and spare no expense to put the best team possible on the field. In so doing, he demonstrated to leaders everywhere that passion is every bit as important as wisdom.

By Robert Goodwin | July 16, 2010; 01:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bully in the dugout

What Steinbrenner lacked was an understanding of how to capture both the hearts and minds of his players in a way that leveraged their innate talents.

By Alaina Love | July 16, 2010; 01:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

Flaws of an undisciplined leader

Like George Patton, Steinbrenner was a well-intentioned leader who ended up suffering from flaws that a more self-disciplined leader might have controlled.

By John Baldoni | July 15, 2010; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

'A hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree'

George Steinbrenner had a passion to win. His "hot temper" leapt over any "cold degree" of leadership do's and don'ts.

By Ken Adelman | July 15, 2010; 02:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deep pockets to fire as he pleased

The famous and most quotable British physician, Sir William Osler, once said that medicine could be a science if every patient were identical. The same can be said about leadership.

By Warren Bennis | July 15, 2010; 02:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Commanding is not leading

There is a difference between "leading" and exercising the powers of an all-empowered "boss" who may simply issue commands.

By Mickey Edwards | July 15, 2010; 01:59 PM ET | Comments (1)

Stanley Cup: Post-season leadership

Winning when the pressure is turned up requires developing a very strong identity during the regular season and staying true to those values and instincts during post-season play.

By Lisa Larson | May 11, 2010; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Female football coach: The real challenge

Can a woman coach men's varsity football? Absolutely. But every new leader needs something she may not be able to find: supportive peers.

By Lisa Larson | March 16, 2010; 06:14 AM ET | Comments (1)

'Own the Podium,' vindicated

Canadians and Canadian athletes have been wildly energized setting Winter Olympic history in winning gold medals, and that wouldn't have happened with the "Own the Podium" strategy. have happened without setting the Own the Podium goal.

By Roger Martin | March 1, 2010; 06:10 AM ET | Comments (17)

Right aspirations, wrong definition

The mistake the Canadians made was not that they had higher aspirations for success; it was their definition of success.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 26, 2010; 03:53 PM ET | Comments (32)

Out of step for Canada

The goal of dominating the Olympics doesn't match the usual style of our neighbors to the north.

By Yash Gupta | February 25, 2010; 03:47 PM ET | Comments (21)

Don't strive like Toyota

Stretch goals are fine as long as they reinforce an organization's purpose and there is no down-side for failing to meet them.

By Michael Maccoby | February 25, 2010; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

A safe stretch

Winning medals at the Olympics isn't a stretch goal -- it's the only goal!

By Lisa Larson | February 25, 2010; 10:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moments of excellence

Demoralization comes from feeling fear and doubt. It does not come from having high goals.

By Coro Fellows | February 25, 2010; 12:33 AM ET | Comments (5)

'Tigerpology:' Be more like Lance

Formal leaders who are elected or chosen for their position owe us apologies when they transgress. Sports leaders just owe us great sportsmanship.

By Lisa Larson | February 23, 2010; 01:26 PM ET | Comments (18)

The leadership Brett Favre lacked

Leadership, as Alan Keith of Genentech has said, "is ultimately about a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen."

By Lisa Larson | February 6, 2010; 06:09 AM ET | Comments (1)

Dick Vermeil as mentor?

A better decision by the Redskins management might have entailed hiring a former successful head coach known across the league as a senior statesman and teacher.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | October 30, 2009; 04:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Replace Cerruto and Snyder

The fault lies not with Coach Zorn, but with Dan Snyder and Vince Cerruto for their draft and free-agency decisions. They are the managers who need to be replaced

By Michael Maccoby | October 28, 2009; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Crippling the coach

The problem was not with the decision to address a perceived shortcoming, which had to be done, but in crippling the coach's ability to lead effectively.

By Mickey Edwards | October 28, 2009; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Failure or its aftermath?

While Zorn's dismissal as play-caller technically throws his leadership into question, it does so no more than the atrophied offense he has put onto the field thus far.

By Coro Fellows | October 27, 2009; 01:26 PM ET | Comments (5)

Bad call

Having been stripped of some of authority as head coach, Jim Zorn will lose the ability to inspire success -- a quality the Redskins sorely need this season.

By Yash Gupta | October 27, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (11)

A private conversation

Had Dan Snyder wanted to keep Jim Zorn and not undermine his authority, the conversation and decision about his weaknesses would have taken place in private.

By Bob Schoultz | October 27, 2009; 06:43 AM ET | Comments (2)

Precursor to firing

When a single individual can bring in someone "to compensate for your weakness," you're not the leader.

By Slade Gorton | October 27, 2009; 06:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Not an easy time to 'help'

When a leader is challenged by his own performance or when his leadership is being questioned from the outside is not an easy time to offer "help."

By Andy Stern | October 26, 2009; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Consultants aren't leaders

When the outside consultant starts "calling the plays" for the team, the role has changed from "advisor" to "executive."

By Marshall Goldsmith | October 26, 2009; 03:03 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Shakespearean tragedy

Like Julius Caesar's Brutus, bad leaders who can't see -- and therefore compensate for -- their own weaknesses.

By Ken Adelman | October 26, 2009; 02:40 PM ET | Comments (2)

Will he get back up?

Coach Zorn has been undermined, and now the owner must hope the coach has the leadership competence to regroup and move the team forward.

By Ed O'Malley | October 26, 2009; 01:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Only one captain

When the owners lose confidence in the leader, it does little good to take away his or her responsibilities and give them to a consultant.

By Bill George | October 26, 2009; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Snyder must go

The management of the Redskins, especially Dan Snyder, has failed to show leadership. Until Snyder goes, the Redskins will not have a chance to field an outstanding team.

By Pablo Eisenberg | October 26, 2009; 01:06 PM ET | Comments (104)

No surprises

If a leader like Jim Zorn has been around for a while, he should be informed of changes in his executive powers before the public is.

By Raju Narisetti | October 26, 2009; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Fellow Meditator

Phil Jackson's practice of Buddhism and meditation give him an inner calm and tranquility that enables him to motivate his star professionals in ways that others cannot.

By Bill George | June 17, 2009; 05:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Calm on the Court

Phil Jackson creates a calm atmosphere in which players are able to remain grounded, self-motivated and avoid frenzy. That's a good recipe for leadership in any arena.

By Mickey Edwards | June 16, 2009; 12:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Define Great Coaching

Great coaches must also lead their players off the court and able to make teams with different skill levels thrive.

By Paul R. Portney | June 16, 2009; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Practical Zen

Simple Buddhist ideas like "let go of the past", "make peace with what you cannot change" and "be in the moment" are applicable to everything from athletics and business to life.

By Marshall Goldsmith | June 16, 2009; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reaching the Whole Person

Many coaches teach X's and O's well, but few can reach the entire person like Phil. He understands the soul of the player and really taps into their true being.

By John H. Cochran, MD | June 16, 2009; 12:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Spiritual Doubts

I respect Jackson's character but doubt that spirituality on the hard wood of a basketball court would make much of a difference.

By Warren Bennis | June 15, 2009; 11:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Winning is a Not a Formula

No two leaders have the same combination of factors; like DNA, each of us has unique characteristics. In Phil Jackson's case his spirituality is part of his guiding leadership philosophy, and it works for him.

By Andy Stern | June 15, 2009; 02:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Zen Christian Master

Phil Jackson said his own approach to coaching "embodied the Zen Christian attitude of selfless awareness." Other leader shouldn't copy him: Instead they should express their own values and vision through their leadership style.

By Michael Maccoby | June 15, 2009; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Spirituality of Team Work

Jackson has always been committed to the idea that people who work together can accomplish much more than individuals seeking their own personal glory, something he may have learned from his parents, who were pastors.

By Yash Gupta | June 15, 2009; 02:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Magic Without Magic

Phil Jackson made explicit what most great coaches and managers have understood intuitively: that the hardest challenge of leadership is to resist the impulse to take the work off of the shoulders of those who own the problem.

By Marty Linsky | June 15, 2009; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Officer Should Eat Last

When executives take pay cuts, it makes a more powerful statement about their leadership than words could ever convey.

By Michael Useem | March 16, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

Pay Cuts: More Than Just a Gesture

A pay cut has the symbolic value of showing that a leader cares about the hardships of those hurting from the economic recession.

By Yash Gupta | March 16, 2009; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reconnecting Lost Talent

Leaders need to encourage experienced but underperforming talent to "rejoin" the team. In some cases, all that is required is an invitation, or simply asking, " What do you think?"

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | January 29, 2009; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Warner the Exception

When it comes to aging under-performers, my experience is that such individuals, unlike fine wines, rarely improve with age.

By Norm R. Augustine | January 29, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

How the Army Does It

The U.S. Army offers an example of how to motivate older, experienced workers by appealing to their ideals, offering them meaningful work, and communicating that their work is valued.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | January 27, 2009; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (6)

Keen Eye, Good Choices

On paper, the Cardinals have no business being in the Super Bowl, but many more gifted squads and athletes in the NFL will be sitting home watching them on Sunday. The credit goes to Whisenhunt, and leaders can learn from his playbook.

By John R. Ryan | January 27, 2009; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (2)

Listen to the Team

Who can best evaluate leadershhip potential? According to research, it is a person's subordinates -- not the boss.

By Michael Useem | January 27, 2009; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Coaching Up Underperformers

Think of the 57-year-old pilot who saved almost 160 lives by his careful maneuvering of his aircraft into the Hudson River. Before last week, most aviation experts would have doubted that a rookie pilot was capable of such an accomplishment.

By Warren Bennis | January 26, 2009; 04:47 PM ET | Comments (5)

Talent Management

Most people go through cycles of performance during their careers, with periods of high performance followed by periods of average or even below average performance.

By Clarence Otis | January 26, 2009; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Recycling Employees

American business leaders have tended to think of employees as disposable, not recyclable, commodities. If an employee stops "working right," they throw him or her out and get a new person.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | January 26, 2009; 03:50 PM ET | Comments (1)

Defining Life Experiences

Don't be fooled by a person's short resume: He or she still might have made many career and life choices that show commitment, understanding and a capacity to learn, grow and lead.

By Yash Gupta | January 26, 2009; 02:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Age-Defying Quarterback

Choosing 37-year-old Kurt Warner as the Cardinals quarterback demonstrates Coach Whisenhunt's ability see far beyond age in sports.

By Ed Ruggero | January 26, 2009; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Losers and Winners

It is all in the context-- a person can seem inept in one situation and brilliant in another.

By Michael Maccoby | January 26, 2009; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

True Team Player

For the Steelers, success has been less about elevating any one player to team leader and more about forging individuals into a selfless, seamless unit that shuns the notion of individual recognition.

By Bill Shore | January 26, 2009; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Coach's Instinct

Choosing the best quarterback is only one of the many things an NFL coach must do well if he wants to dream of bringing his team to the Super Bowl.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | January 26, 2009; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (1)

When Newer Isn't Better

When Apple launched its first personal digital assistant in 1993, it saw the future -- but just a little too soon. Warner shows the "bright young thing" is not always the best choice.

By Roger Martin | January 25, 2009; 11:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Elbow Grease

Coach Whisenhunt chose substance over sizzle, hard-won experience over youthful exuberance, discipline over star power. That choice led the Cardinals to the big game--and I hope it leads CEOs to rethink some of their decisions about whom they rely on in tough times.

By William C. Taylor | January 25, 2009; 11:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hard To Say Good-bye

In most professional realms, non-succession plans seem to be a bigger problem than failing to recognize that there is still some life in the old folks.

By Marty Linsky | January 25, 2009; 11:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Tricky Equation

Derek Bok, Charles de Gaulle, An Wang, Kurt Warner -- sometimes it's your moment to shine, and sometimes its not. The tricky part is figuring out when.

By Howard Gardner | January 25, 2009; 09:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Why Stars Are Hard to Pick

Finding talent is harder than you think, in part because we pay too much attention to how people present themselves, rather than how they actually perform.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | January 25, 2009; 09:09 PM ET | Comments (1)

Holistic Success

Talent is not always about top performance; it's also about team work and finding that person who makes the needed difference.

By Andy Stern | January 25, 2009; 09:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Find the Right Fit

Being a leader means matching your people to the needs of your organization, and that's exactly what Coach Whisenhunt did.

By David Walker | January 25, 2009; 08:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Think Long-Term

Overlooking talent is easy. Sorting the really solid performers from those who deliver a few spectacular results for brief while is tough.

By Walter F. Ulmer, Jr. | January 25, 2009; 08:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

 
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