Picking a New Head Coach, err, Leader When the Chips are Down!

Go Green! If you know me, you know I bleed green, and my Spartans are taking one on the chin with their football head coach recently. I’m not going to get into the Mel Tucker situation specifically; that’s a nightmare, and this is a PG-13 blog!

Tuck Leavin’

I had such high expectations, but if I’m honest with myself, the warning signs were there from the beginning:

  • He got an amazing running back in Kenneth Walker out of the transfer portal his first year that covered up a lot of ills in the program.
  • Our defense was awful and getting worse, and he’s a defensive coach.
  • Attention to detail was non-existent, and that starts at the top.
  • We got played in giving him a contract that he shouldn’t have gotten because we were not negotiating from a position of strength.

What do you need to turn around a bad situation?

Back to our regularly scheduled programming! The Tuck situation is very similar to any organization that needs to replace a bad leader or a broken turnaround situation. Everything seems bleak.

Here’s what you need:

1. A leader with off-the-charts attention to detail and high rules. Most organizations are broken because people have been allowed to do broken things. That has to stop, immediately, and that only happens with a leader whose attention to detail is off the charts. Annoyingly so!

2. Every single ill and missed step has to be called out and corrected. This is where and when we open our kimonos and let everything show. Organizations don’t get broken in one day. They get broken over time because we allow little things go that turn into big things. That stops today.

3. A leader who can rally people to a vision and one that embraces the bottom. Very few leaders are good at digging out. We love to say it’s hard being a leader on top because it’s hard to keep you there. That’s mostly bullshit. Ask any leader what’s more challenging: a turnaround or staying on top. 100% will tell you it’s a turnaround.

4. A leader who understands how to develop talent. When you’re at the bottom, you are not going to get the best talent. You’re going to get talent that was overlooked. You’re going to get talent that has some hickies. You need to be someone who loves developing talent. That thrives on developing talent.

5. Probably a leader that has something to prove. This can be a new leader or a leader who fell down and is looking to prove they belong back on top, but your chances of success are better if that leader has a chip on their shoulder.

When you take a look at those five attributes, you see why it’s so hard to find leaders capable of turning around a failing organization. Most leaders hired into these roles have a little risk they bring with them. Ailing organizations don’t get first-round leader picks!

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