Coaching & Business Strategy

Bob Vecchiotti, Ph. D.
Senior Vice President, Consulting Services-Leadership Development
President, Strategic Initiatives
bvecchiotti@beampines.com
 

Effective and timely coaching can make the development and implementation of your business strategy less daunting and more successful. This is especially true in an environment that is global, fast paced, and uncertain. Coaching people to break old habits and stimulate creative thinking can establish an integrated strategy process that sets clear ways to achieve sustainable results and increased profits. Research findings support the “results-driven” value of knowledgeable coaches for your key individuals and core teams during the business strategy development process.

Several of the well established requirements for building a successful business strategy include:

  1. Gathering data from diverse perspectives.
  2. Thinking “outside the box.”
  3. Encouraging the participation and involvement of your key resources.
  4. Providing for a focused dialog for consensus building and realistic implementation planning.
  5. Assuring disciplined and outcome-focused implementation.
  6. Having competent leaders and managers who guide the effort and monitor results, and
  7. Being flexible, with a willingness to re-evaluate based on performance feedback, and to make necessary changes throughout the process in order to get the desired results.

Coaching to increase management competencies and practices has a positive impact in making strategy development and implementation achievable with confidence, efficiency, and full use of your company’s resources.

Coaching can begin during any phase of business strategy development. Preparing the team for strategy development provides opportunities for individual and team coaching which will maximize outcomes, establish clear roles and relationships, and assure that existing competencies contribute quickly to measurable results.

Coaching your senior managers and high potentials to the next levels of contribution provides an important developmental opportunity during the implementation phase of business strategy. Implementation is more efficient with coaching especially in effective communication and negotiating skills, in setting objectives and expectations for change, in reviewing specific techniques for running the business from sales to finance, in building consensus and buy-in for key decisions, in enhancing team problem solving, and in using feedback to improve the entire business planning process.

Sometimes business strategies demand that new competencies be acquired in time to implement new strategic initiatives. New business lines, new products and services, and greater leadership effectiveness practices, are more likely to be integrated into business functions with tailored and timely coaching. Senior executives can create the environment that encourages self-development and use of coaches during the entire process of business planning and implementation.

Today’s well trained and experienced coaches understand executive leadership and what it takes to guide an organization to continued high performance and sustainable success. These coaches and advisors transfer their knowledge into management practices and competencies that make a positive difference in achieving your business objectives. Coaches with significant profit and loss experience can assure individuals properly apply analytical tools, measure and assess operational performance, ask the thought provoking “what if” questions, design relevant incentive systems, and identify ways to enhance profitability. These are the skills and abilities that contribute to successful business strategy implementation.

Coaching doesn’t break the bank when you consider the lasting effectives of good coaching. A sample of renewable benefits that researchers and company executives have regularly identified as most relevant to improved business strategy development and implementation include:

1.  A greater sense of confidence in both facilitating the decision process and effectively getting the tough decisions made.
2.  People are motivated to exceed expectations.
3.  A better understanding of teamwork and shared accountability.
4.  A better understanding of the business and how it makes money.
5.  A clearer focus on what’s needed for success.
6. Implementation planning that is realistic with contingencies understood.
7.  The right competencies are used for greater success and more competitive advantages.
8.  Less wasted time with fewer delays when competing in a tough global market place, and
9.  The link between planning and results is shortened.

In many organizations, coaching is continuous and delivered as needed by the best talent from within or provided by experienced external resources. Your company’s core competencies can then be renewed and strengthened in a systematic manner.

Experienced coaches with a list of satisfied clients have the right “tools” to add considerable value to your business. They build on the strengths of your leadership team; they facilitate and increase performance in all phases of important business initiatives. Their knowledge of behavior and their business acumen will increase individual and team effectiveness. Senior managers who want their initiatives to succeed often seek facilitators to add value with new insights, and provocative inquiry to increase individual accountability. An experienced coach will offer more to meet the challenges you face.  

To find coaches who can boost important competencies, sharpen your company’s management practices, and improve your business success, you can ask your colleagues and peers for the names of people who have turned around an individual or a business through coaching that is delivered in a better, faster, cheaper manner. Great coaches have great reputations. Word of mouth testimony from people you trust is your best source. Great coaches don’t advertise. You’ll see immediately the benefits of coaching by hiring the best.

Bob is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Organizational Psychologists, the Association for Corporate Growth and HR People & Strategy (HRPS).His hobbies include cooking, reading biographies, visiting interesting places, and watching NASCAR races.  His office is in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
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Leadership: A Contemporary View

Bob Vecchiotti, Ph. D.
Senior Vice President, Consulting Services-Leadership Development
President, Strategic Initiatives
bvecchiotti@beampines.com

Bob is an experienced business advisor and coach with three decades of business and leadership development experience and a proven combination of skills from business and psychology.  Bob earned a national reputation for his work in business and people growth, and applying systems thinking to meet management challenges.  He has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Investor’s Business Daily, The Small Business Monthly, and the Washington Post.  His business insights were shared for nearly 20 years in a monthly commentary on KWMU (NPR) in St. Louis.  As an active reservist for 23 years, he worked with senior officers and research scientists in the Pentagon on a variety of projects resulting in increased retention of officers, innovative computer based training, improved performance of small units, and in better preparation of general officers for the challenges of the post-Vietnam era.

Bob is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Organizational Psychologists, the Association for Corporate Growth and HR People & Strategy (HRPS).His hobbies include cooking, reading biographies, visiting interesting places, and watching NASCAR races.  His office is in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Did you know the word “leadership” entered our vocabulary after the Civil War? Before then we had leaders and followers. So leadership is a recent term but what do we really know about it?

Early definitions were about the qualities or traits of the leader. These traits became so numerous that specific leadership characteristics were difficult to identify. The list spanned the traits of dictators like Hitler and Stalin to persons like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Listing traits did little to really discriminate among leaders.

Research wasn’t all that helpful either. When studies focused on behavior with an emphasis on whether or not a leader’s orientation was toward setting organizational goals or toward assisting people, the findings were inconsistent. So the best behavior was obviously a balanced combination of both. Next came a focus on leader and follower relationships under various situations. This model served us well until the variables were too numerous to generalize to anything resembling leadership. So what is the definition of leadership? 

Contemporary definitions see leadership as a process. After studying leadership for many years, I’ve evolved this definition:

“Leadership is a long-term, value-based process that encourages leaders and implementers to initiate actions that contribute to achieving a common purpose, and to willingly make significant contributions in meeting mutual objectives.”

This definition encompasses several aspects of leadership from observation and contemporary research. First, it is long-term even though the role of leader may pass to another person as new circumstances and demands occur, leadership continues.

Second, it is a relationship involving leaders and people who implement and make things happen. Often the qualities previously ascribed to leaders are now qualities of their “followers.” People who implement well are competent and credible, tenacious and hardworking, trust worthy, team oriented, have good people skills, and are decisive.

Third, there is a unifying purpose with common objectives to meet. When people share a common goal they work hard to make significant contributions to achieving them. We now have a process for blending leader and follower competencies under common values.

Does this mean today’s leaders exhibit different qualities than their predecessors when moving the process of leadership forward? Yes! Qualities of today’s leaders emphasize what helps them keep ahead of and sharpens their relationship with their followers. Leaders are: Conceptual thinkers and critical evaluators, consistent and articulate with their vision, humble and patient, persistent, humorous, resilient, emotionally mature, and collaborative with and respectful of others.  They keep ahead of their people with these qualities. When some people need a boost in performance, the contemporary leader accepts where they are and patiently coaches them to what’s relevant for success.

A further contemporary and important dynamic is that leadership has no gender. As more women ascend in the hierarchy of business organizations and more significantly start and grow their own businesses, we are experiencing the unique contributions of women. Some of their leader qualities include: Clearly focused on developing people, are more collaborative, focused on both the details and on the long term, willing to say what they know and don’t know, focused on similarities more than differences, ask a lot of questions, and rely on their intuition to fill gaps. The leadership styles of women are modifying the early qualities of leaders which were based primarily on men.

The contributions of men and women leaders are essential to fully understanding leadership.  As their styles converge businesses will be stronger in accomplishing their goals. Leaders will emerge at all levels of business organizations.

Here are four business and people development competencies where leadership convergence can make a positive difference in meeting today’s challenges. They include: Technical/functional knowledge, interpersonal skills, strategy development, and organizational savvy. Technical or functional knowledge is knowledge of the functions of business that is used to meet company objectives. It includes finance, operations, marketing/sales, planning, information technology, and human resources. Most people enter businesses from their educational preparation through one of these functions. Keeping pace with and sharing knowledge across business functions are contributing to more vibrant and successful businesses.

Interpersonal skills continue to be important to all business organizations. Listening well, articulating clearly, and recognizing and respecting the diversity of talent and backgrounds available are critical especially when building a successful team.  Collaboration in a global setting pushes leadership to new levels. Here social media are facilitating diverse groups in effectively implementing common goals across many boundaries. 

Looking over the horizon is important. You can thrive on today’s data but that may not be enough for the long term. The practice of looking ahead, reading the trends and analyzing the current business results is a starting point. This focus permits the styles of men and women to converge and decide on strategies for future success. 

Organizational savvy or knowing where key internal resources reside and how to mobilize them for action is another critical competency for convergence. It requires a strong internal network of resources to call on as needed. It crosses bureaucratic lines to meet common objectives. The benefits are better utilization of resources, a more porous organization, and higher talent retention rates.

These are exciting times for leaders and followers who understand that leadership is a dynamic process in which both participate. The old definitions are changing as men and women collaborate to lead their organizations forward.

The art of leadership is changing with our fluid and technology-driven times. Our insights into leadership will keep pace as we observe it happening around us.

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The Value of Unions

With over 40 years of executive experience as an HR executive, Attorney, Consultant, CEO and Chairman, Howard Pines can be counted on to observe and report on the current state of Executive effectiveness along with anything else that strikes a chord.  He co-founded BeamPines, Inc. in 1981. Prior to that he served in executive roles at Fortune 500 Corporations.  As part of his strict regimen supporting his recovery from nearly a half century of business experiences, Howard Pines opines every other week.  Howard can be reached at HPines@beampines.com.

Recently spurred on by the state of the economy and the fight playing out in Wisconsin, there has been a great debate around the value of Unions. One side vilifies Unions as the reason for everything bad in the economy, using, for example, the benefits packages the public employee Unions have been able to achieve through bargaining with Municipal and State Governments. The other side praises Unions as the key to people having rights, citing history’s worst dictators as Union’s biggest enemies.

What are the facts? The facts are that, as in any operation where people are involved, there are both good and bad unions, as there are both good and bad employers. For over 40 years in business I negotiated with hundreds of Unions. I also represented Management in over 30 elections where Unions tried unsuccessfully to unionize the workers. All things being equal employees are better off without a Union, as they would not have to pay dues or other fees and would be promoted based on merit rather than seniority. Employers are also better off without Unions because Unions add costs to the operation. Seniority and work rules create inefficiencies that inhibit the ability of a Company to most effectively operate. Strikes can destroy a company.

However, all things are never equal. While there are bad and corrupt Union Leaders, there are also greedy and corrupt Executives. Unions would never have come about in the first place if Companies, especially in the manufacturing sphere, had treated employees with respect and dignity.  Taft/Hartley was not passed until the late 1940’s.

On the other hand, the reason Unions began to disappear in the private sector was because many Companies learned their lesson and began to treat employees in ways that made Unions unnecessary. The way we kept Unions out, in most companies where I was either employed or worked as a consultant, was to ensure the employees knew that they would do just as well or better in regard to wages, pensions and health insurance and even working conditions by staying non union and they did not have to pay anyone dues or other fees to earn these benefits.

One of my first clients in 1981 was Tootsie Roll, a public company located in Chicago Illinois. I was visiting the head of Manufacturing, John Newlin, who was a friend from when we were both at Standard Brands. The idea was to meet some potential clients in the mid West and, while John doubted there would be any business at Tootsie Roll, he promised to take me to a Chicago Bulls basketball game. Their factory employees were represented by the Bakery, Confectionary and Tobacco Union. The company had just gone through a management change. The husband and wife (Mel and Ellen Gordon), who owned over 50% of the company stock, had just removed the CEO and had come to Chicago from Massachussetts to run the company. Financially the company was doing poorly and morale was fairly low.  Low and behold, the day I arrived the BC&T Union had filed a petition asking Tootsie Roll to recognize them as the bargaining agent for the 80 office and lab employees. The situation was so grim that Mel Gordon, the CEO, was ready to recognize the Union believing that, if they did not, the Teamsters would come in and organize the employees. The President (Ellen Gordon), John Newlin and a few other executives felt that, even though they had a good relationship with the BC&T Union, this would be a disaster especially having their administrative and accounting staffs in a union.  They convinced Mel to discuss the situation with me. His first question was “can we win?” My response was “probably, since this was the first attempt.”  However, I advised him: “If you don’t change how you treat these employees and lift their morale, a year from now there will probably be another election and you will lose.” We agreed to contest the Union and after a campaign there was a vote that the company easily won. Mel and Ellen led the campaign and while they didn’t make any concrete promises, they did indicate, given another chance, they would change how the company operated. 

The company did begin to change for the better with revenues and profits quadrupling over the next 5 years. The Union never again tried to organize the office and lab employees as morale totally turned around.

The point is Unions are in business to promote their own growth and represent their members. They are not in business to help the company’s bottom line. However, companies have the ability to avoid unionization .Why join a Union if you can get the same wages, benefits and working conditions without paying dues and other fees. However, I believe the fact that employees have an alternative, motivates private sector companies to treat their employees fairly and competitively.

While there are differences, many of the same points apply to public sector employees.  Public employee unions probably should not be able to strike because they are virtual monopolies regarding services; and the public, unlike companies, usually cannot find an alternative (i.e. transportation, police, fire). However, there is a need to ensure public employees are treated fairly and competitively. Where politics is involved, favoritism is usually also at play and again public sector employees don’t usually have the same employment alternatives. In addition, while this may not be a fair characterization, after watching Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, I would not want him being the sole arbitrator of how I am treated.

Sports Unions play an even different role. Athletes have short careers and really need someone to protect their interests and livelihood. For example, what is unknown by most sports fans is that at least 95% of football players only get paid if they make the team each year, even when they are covered by contract.

In summary, all but Union leaders agree that it would be great if Unions were unnecessary, but many times this just is not the case.

(Editor’s note:  I worked for Howard for many years while he was involved in Labor Relations.  While an ardent advocate for management rights, he always held that Management usually got the Unions they deserved.  This was not always a popular position with Management, but that’s another story for another time.)

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Competition: How Unions Kill It

With over 40 years of executive experience as an HR executive, Attorney, Consultant, CEO and Chairman, Howard Pines can be counted on to observe and report on the current state of Executive effectiveness along with anything else that strikes a chord.  He co-founded BeamPines, Inc. in 1981. Prior to that he served in executive roles at Fortune 500 Corporations.  As part of his strict regimen supporting his recovery from nearly a half century of business experiences, Howard Pines opines every other week.  Howard can be reached at HPines@beampines.com.

Competition is the key to productivity. History teaches us that as soon as there are monopolies in any area there is little incentive to be more productive.

In the 60’s and 70’s probably the biggest threat to productivity were the major Labor Unions and the arrogance of the Corporations themselves.  The major Automobile, Steel, Paper and Brewery Companies were not willing to fight the Unions believing that, as long as their competitors agreed to the same deal, they were safe. Therefore, they formed coalitions and bargained together ensuring everyone paid the same price.  Particularly onerous were some of the agreements around cost-of-living, health insurance, pensions and productivity. During one negotiation with the Distillery workers, the head of Seagram’s HR department actually complained to the President of Standard Brands, where I was the head of Labor for the Fleischmann Distilling division, that I was throwing a monkey wrench into the negotiations by resisting their efforts to negotiate a fair cost-of-living provision.

What these Companies did not foresee was the coming of foreign competition (e.g. Toyota) that resulted in most of these industries becoming dinosaurs and bankrupt by the turn of the 21st century. When they finally realized what they needed to do, it was too late. However, this also took down the big Unions, who also didn’t realize until it was too late that, if the big companies like General Motors and US Steel went down, there would also be no members to pay dues, etc. Companies began relocating to the South and overseas where they could get cheaper and more flexible labor.  At Standard Brands we closed our Planters Peanuts plant in San Francisco and built a new non-union facility in Arkansas. Union membership began to decline and companies like Walmart began to flourish with non-union labor. In most people’s minds the Union movement was over.

However, the model for Union success (lack of competition) still existed. They just needed to find a new venue for their efforts.  The public sector became the new nirvana for Unions. Here again the parties believed they were immune to competition. State, city and local governments, along with their police departments, transit personnel and school districts, became the ideal feeding ground for Unions and myopic officials who usually never had any experience running a business. The Unions fought for benefits, pensions and work rule limitations, even foregoing the more obvious big wage increases. The public officials believed their constituents would never discover what they gave away, as long as wage increases were modest and they avoided the discomfort of strikes. However, as businesses came to realize, uncontrolled benefits (health insurance, pensions and vacation clauses) and bad work rules end up costing much more than the annual raises which are easy to cost out. The results, we are now discovering, are catastrophic. Union personnel are now retiring on over 100% of the average of their last year’s earnings, since many times they included skewed overtime earnings. Like the big companies before them the public entities are now learning that there is no free lunch. If they can’t control their costs, they have to either raise the money through taxes or go bankrupt. Of course, the wealthier citizens and the companies that have flexibility regarding customers do have alternatives. They can move! They can take limos. They can send their kids to private schools. The less fortunate citizens, however, are stuck. They must go to the public schools and utilize public transportation. However, the answer isn’t that Unions are all bad. It is that their focus is helping and growing their membership, not doing what is best for society. Where there is no competition they have the most leverage. Therefore, we must have public officials who are willing to stand up, challenge them and come up with innovative competitive solutions rather than try to always keep the peace.

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Controlling Leaders: How Much Is Too Much?

Howard Pines, Chairman

With over 40 years of executive experience as an HR executive, Attorney, Consultant, CEO and Chairman, Howard Pines can be counted on to observe and report on the current state of Executive effectiveness along with anything else that strikes a chord.  He co-founded BeamPines, Inc. in 1981. Prior to that he served in executive roles at Fortune 500 Corporations.  As part of his strict regimen supporting his recovery from nearly a half century of business experiences, Howard Pines opines every other week.  Howard can be reached at HPines@beampines.com.

One of the major issues Leaders struggle with is how much control to exert over their company or their team. Obviously, the bigger the operation, the more complex the decision. Some of the most successful companies and teams have had leaders who were famous for their hands-on styles.  In this regard, think Jack Welch at GE and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.

However, one interesting point during the financial crisis was that two of the companies that imploded, Bear Stearns and AIG, had for many years been run very profitably by extremely controlling Leaders. When the Leader either retired, as was the case with Bear Stearns, or was pushed out, as was the case with AIG, the new Leader failed. My sense has always been that extremely controlling leaders can become arrogant and sometimes abusive, but even worse, don’t develop successors because only executives without backbone or fortitude survive and prosper. Standard Brands had one of the legendary controlling CEOs until he was overthrown in 1976. Henry Weigl, the Standard Brands CEO for 20 plus years, became legendary for his need to control and his mean behavior when he felt defied. In fact, a major leadership consultant, Harry Levinson, rated Henry one of the five meanest leaders in the free world in the early 70’s, before he was deposed. One of Henry’s competitors for this dubious honor was Richard Nixon. 

On one occasion, Henry met a redheaded corporate management employee on the elevator leaving early. He did not find out his name, but discerned the employee worked in the Controller’s office and was going to a dentist appointment. Henry returned and ordered the Controller to fire the red-headed manager. Fortunately, there were two in the department and one was not a strong performer. The Controller was able to let the weaker one go without admitting the real reason.

Henry also put locks on phones in the corporate offices (they were still rotary phones in those days) feeling that corporate executives were making many unnecessary phone calls and, if they were really important, the outside party would call in.

Henry’s demise finally came because he kept firing the executives who were listed as his replacement on the Board’s succession chart. After this happened four times he brought in Ross Johnson, a young rising star from the Canadian office, and designated him the future CEO. However, the relationship soon soured and Henry went to the Board to have Ross terminated. The Board questioned Henry on who was left. Henry stated that they had recently hired Reuben Gutoff from GE and Reuben’s experience as a GE Group Executive made him an excellent candidate for CEO at Standard Brands. The Board decided to interview Reuben Gutoff. Reuben advised the Board that no one could succeed working for Henry and he would rather resign. This led the Board to let Henry go and promote Ross to CEO. While some Board members and Reuben may have later regretted this decision, the atmosphere at the time compared to the excitement in the streets of New York after the Germans surrendered in World War II.

Possibly the King of  “I need to control every decision” was George Steinbrenner. Since George died recently and the Yankees won so many times over the last 10 years, George’s reputation is now on the upswing. One writer in the New York Post even proposed George for the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, his record is less convincing. First of all, the Yankees had the most dollars to spend and the end of free agency gave them and George a great advantage over the smaller market teams.   Think Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield and A-Rod. Despite this, the Yankees never got into the World Series from 1981 to 1996. In 1990, the year George was banned from baseball, the Yankees were 71-91 and the manager was Stump Merrill, who became the first manager since Lou Pinella in 1987 to last the full year.

What changed the situation for the Yankees was Mr. Steinbrenner’s lifetime ban (which later was reduced to a two year suspension) for paying off the gambler, Howard Spira, in the Dave Winfield case. During the suspension, Gene Michael turned around the Yankee fortunes by bringing in players like Paul O’Neill, Jimmy Key, and Mickey Stanley and a new manager, Buck Showalter. Unlike under Steinbrenner, they also began developing, rather than trading, young stars and Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and later of course, Mariano Rivera all made it to the Big Club. They brought a different type of attitude to the team, and in 1992, the Yankees had their first winning season in four years.  True to his nature and despite the success, once Steinbrenner returned he demoted Michael.

So why do some controlling Leaders win and some end up destroying the organization? The key is how they employ this control. Leaders who insist on excellence, and then bring in the best people that have the expertise to run their areas and develop the best processes/systems to provide information and guidance, end up on top. Leaders who think they are experts on everything and meddle in all aspects of the business end up failing and usually without a successor.

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Do more Managers help or hurt?

Howard Pines, Chairman

With over 40 years of executive experience as an HR executive, Attorney, Consultant, CEO and Chairman, Howard Pines can be counted on to observe and report on the current state of Executive effectiveness along with anything else that strikes a chord.  He co-founded BeamPines, Inc. in 1981. Prior to that he served in executive roles at Fortune 500 Corporations.  As part of his strict regimen supporting his recovery from nearly a half century of business experiences, Howard Pines opines every other week.  Howard can be reached at HPines@beampines.com.

A few years ago as the Jacksonville Jaguars were starting their decline, I sat at a game perusing their media guide. One of the things that struck me was the number of coaches they had for an organization of less than 50 players. There were 18 of these individuals under the direction of the Head Coach Jack Del Rio. There were the obvious: an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator and coaches for the defensive and offensive lines, the middle linebackers, the running backs, the receivers and of course the quarterback. In addition there were numerous other coaches covering many other aspects including strength and even one advising the head coach. The Jaguars lost the game handily and I decided to write a letter to the owner- a very likeable and decent executive, Wayne Weaver- to suggest that maybe one of the problems was that there were too many coaches who got in each others’ way. In my letter, I reflected back on my association with the Boston Celtics and Red Auerbach in the early 1970′s.

At that time, I was a mid-level Human Resource executive at P. Ballantine & Sons and we decided to purchase the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics won the NBA championship 11 times between 1957 and 1970 but had financial problems because the fan base was not supportive in those years. In my role I was also in charge of benefits and had met Red when the purchase was completed to discuss the benefit package including Health Insurance.

One morning my benefits manager came into my office and explained that Bad News Barnes, one of the Celtics players, had sent in a medical claim and attached a $50 check allegedly to cover the deductible. Obviously that wasn’t how the program was suppose to work and she asked me to correct the situation.

Since I had only met Red, I decided to call the Personnel Manager to explain the issue and to make sure the players knew how to submit claims in the future. When I got the Celtics operator on the phone I asked for the head of the Personnel Department. She transferred the call to Red. Obviously with more important issues on his mind he abruptly asked what I wanted. I advised I wanted to talk with the Personnel Manager about the claim Bad News Barnes filed and the $50 deductible check attached. “Howard,” Red replied, “I am Personnel, I am PR, I am Marketing and until I made Russell the Playing Coach I was both General Manager, Head of Operations and Coach.” I again explained the problem and Red laughed. “Don’t worry Howard, I will explain the procedure to the players. However,” he chuckled, “if the check is from Barnes, it will bounce.” It did.

As stated, with this limited organization the Celtics won the championship 11 out of 13 years, and then won 2 of the next 5.

Obviously more coaches were not needed to win. However I also believed the reason they weren’t attracting fans or making money was because they didn’t have the right professional covering areas like marketing, finance and PR. I came to believe that it’s not how many, but having the right players covering the key positions that makes the difference. This is true of all organizations.

This came to mind as I watched the Jaguars playing the Eagles last Sunday. The Eagles easily won 28 to 3 and since they controlled the ball most of the game I again had plenty of time to study the Jaguar Media Guide. I noted the Jaguars no longer had 18 coaches but now had 23, having added some new valuable assistants.

Unfortunately Red is no longer around to help. ♦

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