Football in May?
I got a tweet the other day that said “A good coach will make his players see what they can become, rather than what they are.” It was a quote from the old Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian.
Football talk in May? Yeah, the first round of the NFL Draft was last night. I think the Vikings took two good players. But – I wanted Johnny Manziel. Do you remember Fran Tarkenton? I think Manziel is another Tarkenton.
The NFL Draft is fascinating. Is it a science? Hardly. Sure, the draftees go through all kinds of tests – but how good a player is can’t be measured by statistics. That even goes for golfers. The other night they were showing Jordan Spieth’s PGA Tour stats – they were pretty average – but he’s ranked in the top 10 in the world.
Success depends so much on intangibles such as attitude, instinct, and creativity. Some people thrive on pressure – most don’t. And you can see it at the highest levels – not only in Little League. Some people want the ball when the game is on the line. Can you teach that? Can you coach that? Sort of.
It gets back to the difference between a manager and a leader. A leader inspires people to be more than they think they are – to be who they want to be. But people have to be open to inspiration. Some people thrive on bringing everybody down. Those NFL teams have to make sure not to draft those guys.
The winning organizations do more than draft good physical specimens. They have a culture of optimism and inspiration. They do things right. They don’t cut corners. They don’t think short term.
Why is that so rare? Because it’s easier to take the easy way out. Pick the guy with the stats rather than use your gut – that’s always safe. Don’t lead with vision and inspiration and optimism – no, manage by fear and intimidation… and develop a culture of blame.
Every organization has a culture – a football team, a business, a golf course. It’s not all about stats.
GM and Head Golf Professional