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Next Man Up

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 Winners Breed Winners

The Seattle Seahawks won the 2014 Super Bowl and as the team with the best record in the NFL seem poised to make a run at another championship.

With all the success, other teams in the NFL are beginning to take notice.  Rumoured to be coveted for head coaching vacancies are the Seahawks’ top assistants, Tom Cable, Dan Quinn, and Darrell Bevell.

While many leaders would be doing anything they could to keep their top assistants, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll not only encourages them, he outwardly recommends them for other jobs that will further their career.  When each assistant is hired onto Pete Carroll’s staff, he tells them in no uncertain terms that he will train, support and manage them to continue to succeed in their careers.  While he hopes that will be with the Seahawks, he is not afraid to recommend them for other jobs within the NFL.

Next Man Up

Pete Carroll might not consider himself a servant leader, but this attitude is exactly that of a servant leader.  His ultimate goal is to support each individual in becoming the best he or she can be; wherever that may be.  Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, stated that, “The job of a leader is to raise the intellectual bar [of the organization].”

Losing such key people could be fatal to some organizations, but for Pete Carroll it is simply an opportunity for the “next man up.”  Carroll is famous for that phrase.  When a player is injured or a coach moves on for a promotion, it is an opportunity for the “next man up.”  The difference about Carroll is he is continually coaching not only the most talented in his organization, he is also coaching the younger, slightly less talented; grooming them for the day when they will be the older and more talented.

How often have we heard of business owners or managers struggling with a succession plan for a manager who has left or is leaving?  It is an occurrence all too common in the business world.  As business owners and managers, we can learn from Pete Carroll’s leadership style and utilize it to pay dividends for long term success.

Pete Carroll hires coaches who are not only motivated to be great, but to be the best.  When they are hired and brought into the organization, they know that if they work to hone their craft, an opportunity will be presented.  Their opportunity might be within the organization, when another team member leaves to take a promotion elsewhere, or it might be with a different organization.  The key is, coaches joining the Seahawks organization know that as a result of being a member of the Seahawks, they will receive opportunities for career advancement.  Thus, the Seahawks often are able to hire some of the best and brightest talent.

Training for Success - Anywhere

Is your organization known as a great training ground?  Do you coach, manage and train your team to not only succeed in their current position, but for their future positions as well?  Do you outwardly work with your team to further their career; no matter the short term cost to your organization?  Do you hire people, who are “go getters,” looking to do whatever it takes to advance and succeed in their careers?

Gone are the days when an employee works her or his way up through an organization and retires forty years later.  While it may happen on occasion, it is certainly no longer the norm.  To succeed in this current business climate, we must embrace the 'free agency' of talent.  Many organizations are certainly more fluid than they once were, and this could be seen as a good thing.  Gone are the days when you will only be promoted when the manager above you retires. If an organization is able to capitalize on this organizational fluidity, it could attract the top talent in their given industry and always be ready with the “next person up.”

Tim Dumas is the Great Performances Group’s Guest Service Fanatic.  He loves to work with individuals and organizations to becoming a cohesive team of Guest Service Fanatics. He believes by implementing the principles of candor and ‘wow’, an organization can begin to achieve true organizational greatness.

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