Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

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Accept only victory

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?

A sports team is first and foremost a business in a competitive environment. A leader who wants to win and knows how to win games, fans and revenue will do what Ted Leonsis did with the Capitals.

You need to look at the infrastructure of your team -- the coaches and assistant coaches. Why do they have their jobs if they are losing games? Who was too weak-willed to fire them in the past? Was it the general manager? Why keep a general manager who is not strong enough to fire the people causing defeat and bring in a coaching staff that will work and train his team?

Who is in charge of selling season tickets? Why aren't they moving quicker? Is there a marketing problem? If the team has a mediocre record, what is the marketing department doing to make attending games an enjoyable experience for locals? What is being done to increase the fan base?

This may seem like the Genghis Khan approach to management, but when you have an organization that is functioning at a low level, that is not the time to be touchy-feely.

Losing year after year often happens because the same people decide year after year that "business as usual" is acceptable. That is the path of least resistance until someone in charge decides that he or she will only accept victory, not mediocrity.

By Jan Scruggs  |  April 19, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  creative destruction Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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"Not Just Politics as Usual." I guess we are at Not Just Business as Usual. It's always money as usual and what comes and goes is unusual. There will be risks and losses. There's still more to gain than lose if you do it right.

Posted by: tossnokia | April 21, 2010 4:47 PM
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Sounds like the US auto industry

Posted by: pgr88 | April 21, 2010 10:22 AM
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