Open Letter to Football Teams Firing Their Head Coach: Why You Should Hire Me
Let’s start with who I am…I’m a guy who played football at the D-II college level; I’m a middle-aged professional now who has 15 years experience in management. I am an engineer, and I make a living diagnosing problems and devising solutions. If you will, here are those skills described in a quasi-BS “elevator speech” said entirely in Corpo-speak. Brace yourself…
In nearly 15 years of professional experience, I have successfully directed dynamic programs and projects of all sizes involving mission-critical products in both the medical and technology industries that are based largely on designing and implementing processes to promote strategic partnerships, improve production efficiency, product quality and usability, and foster the growth of internal and external teams.
Regardless of my role on a team, I have always employed the philosophy of combining the most effective use of resources and the continual education of and communication with teammates to achieve departmental and/or organizational objectives. The bottom line to my philosophy is increasing the quality of internal and external customer interaction can be as much of a revenue driver as the product itself.
If you are done vomiting, let me explain why this makes me the ideal candidate for your open head coaching position. Please allow me to begin by translating that utter BS into plain ol’ English.
I’ve got a 15-year track record of knowing how to get things done. I know how to spot a problem, I know how to develop and implement a plan, and I know how to get that plan to a successful completion. Along the way, we are going to find who the performers are on the team, and we are going to build a culture that turns performers into leaders, and leaders into winners.
I will be the first to admit that I am no better than the average arm-chair, play-calling coach when it comes to college or professional football. My limited experience with the game on the field is twenty years old, therefore of limited usefulness. In fact, I am on record as saying that such arm-chair coaches are largely full of hot air. But my reasons for believing I should be your next head coach have little to do with what I will do; rather they revolve around what I won’t do.
As your head coach, I will not…
- …be afraid to delegate responsibility. I am not the “Xs and Os” guy. That’s the role for coordinators and position coaches. I’m also not going to be the guy filling the Gatorade bucket or folding towels. Rather, it is my role to make sure everybody in the organization knows their role, understands its importance, and executes its duties with zeal and dedication. People perform far better when you give them the ownership over their duties.
- …call out a member of my organization publicly, or tolerate a team member who does. Teams must have accountability not only to their leadership, but to each other. Teams must have the ability to “keep each other in line,” but making “family business” public is never acceptable.
- …make decisions based on personal gain rather than team needs. I don’t care what the blowhards on the local sports radio station think, I’m playing guys who I think give the team the best chance to win. Since I’m the guy in the locker room, I’m going to assume I know more than guys who aren’t. I will not make a decision to asguage public pressure, nor to curry public favor. If I am proven wrong, then it is incumbent upon me to own that.
- …ever let a team member think I don’t have his back. Whether you are a coach or a player, my philosophy is that I chalk out boundaries based on your role, and within those boundaries you are free to make any decision you feel is necessary. I will never question a judgement call; all I ask is that you feel able to defend your action if needed.
- …pretend that I make the difference in the team’s performance. Because I don’t; my role is no more important that anybody else’s in the organization. I believe that importance to a team is based not on your responsibilities, rather on the impact your failure would have on your teammates. This means on a true team, everybody matters. It also means everybody must believe they make a difference. People who don’t believe their contribution matters don’t perform.
- …shrink away from recruiting duties. This likely applies on a larger scale to the college game insofar as you must take in active role in acquiring on-field talent. But in the professional game you certainly must recruit your off-field team; you can’t draft position coaches, coordinators, trainers, equipment managers, clubhouse managers, and all the other people who make a complete sports franchise.
- …fail to honor contractual obligations. I will not be the guy who storms out of press conferences just because I didn’t like a question. I will not be the guy who refuses to show up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. I will not be the guy who won’t let players appear at public events and/or sign autographs. In fact, all those things are a central theme to a role as a public figure; failing them means I likely have failed several other points on this list.
- …obfuscate the truth. In my professional life as an systems engineer, I literally have had thousands of chances where I had to tell a design engineer “your baby is ugly,” and yet still need that guy to work with me. Patting somebody on the head who is failing, holding someone to a different set of standards than the rest of the team, and giving vague, non-descript, politically-correct answers to requests for constructive criticism or inquiries from the media or public are all examples of insulting people’s intelligence, which always leads to failure and it is a terrible reflection on you.
Take a critical look at the head coach you are contemplating firing, and you likely see the reason you are faced with this decision is because they did not adhere to one of the principles I’ve listed. I’m not saying I will never make a mistake; mistakes are defined largely by a mixture of situation, perception, and outcome. What I am saying is that I will not violate what I consider to be the basics of leadership.