Eric Schaeffer
Theater director

Eric Schaeffer

Co-founder and artistic director for Signature Theatre in Arlington, which won the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained artistic excellence.

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Cleaning house

Q: The Washington Capitals, longtime laggards in the NHL, are now seen by many as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. How do you take an organization from failure to dominance? How many leaders are bold enough to esentially blow up the enterprise, as owner Ted Leonsis did, and build it back up?

First off, let's hope the Caps go all the way! It's been two exciting games so far. It does take a lot of guts for Ted Leonsis to blow up the team and start from scratch. Sometimes this is the only way to get a renewed spirit into an organization and the only solution in making it happen.

I have always felt that either you outgrow the organization or the organization outgrows you. As individuals, you have to be smart enough to know when it's time to move on.

When you feel that you are not contributing to an organization at the level you should be, people need to be strong enough to take a step back and review the situation. I have always found that the majority of times, the individual is feeling exactly the same thing the boss is. They're just waiting for someone else to push them along.

Obviously, it's a huge expense in this case to rebuild a team. But in the end, the city and the fans become engaged and rally around the sport. For any leader, making the big change takes courage and guts. But without the risk, nothing changes.

It's wonderful to see when the risk does pay off and it encourages other leaders to make smart decisions for their own futures.

By Eric Schaeffer  |  April 19, 2010; 5:30 PM ET  | Category:  creative destruction Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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