Archive for the ‘Good to Great’ Category

Will the New York Giants be complacent defenders of their Super Bowl crown?

May 3, 2008

For any Giant fan able to remember the seasons following all three previous Super Bowl appearances, each following season was one to quickly forget. All three were asterisk seasons of one variety or another.

1987 The Replacements. While the Maras were toeing the line for the NFL against the players’ union, the other teams were quietly giving unofficial contracts to the best of the replacement players in front of the lockout. When the strike was announced and teams could now speak to non-union players, the Giants found out that all the good replacements were mysteriously gone, having signed immediately after the strike began. The team went 0-3 during the strike and never recovered. Nice guys finish last.

1991 You owe it to yourself to read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins (see Ultimatenyg Book Club link on right side) for understanding this season’s demise. Collins points out the “Level 5 leader,” for whom the organization’s success is more important than his/her own press clippings. In order for an organization to have SUSTAINED success the leader must groom a successor or multiple successors so that the business can continue to excel. We all love Parcells for giving us two championships, but his abrupt exit in MAY 1991 was NOT what Level 5 leaders do. In fact, if we look at the way Parcells left the Giants, Patriots and Jets, and if we look at the way he scorned franchises like Tampa Bay and Atlanta, it is all about Parcells and not about the organizations he works for. Indeed, many leaders of less than great companies are out to prove that THEY are the reason for the company’s success. When they leave and the company subsequently stumbles/suffers, we are supposed to fawn over the exited leader for being the singular reason for the success of the team. THE BEST LEADERS ARE THE ONES WHO LEAVE STRUCTURE IN PLACE FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS AFTER THEIR DEPARTURE. Contrast Parcells to the way that Young and Accorsi each laid the groundwork for a smooth transition to a capable successor. Collins’ book has zero to do with football but has everything to do with the implosion of 1991-1992.

2001 In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. Ultimatenyg did an exposé on the myth of Jim Fassel. The era of his reign was marked by such poor coaching in the NFC East that it fostered mediocrity in the Meadowlands. Fassel could not ONCE orchestrate consecutive winning seasons because the ‘players coach’ and strength of schedule insured that the team could not handle prosperity. Even during the special 2000 season when the team went 12-4, it only had a non-division record of 5-3.

Good to Great

April 13, 2008

In the past there have been a few football books that Ultimatenyg has recommended:

The GM by Tom Callahan
Sunday Morning Quarterback by Phil Simms
The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam

Today we add a fourth book to the Ultimatenyg Book List-
Good to Great by Jim Collins

What is a business book doing on a football blog’s reader’s list? Because this book is full of epiphanies about what makes a long term successful organization. There are principles in this book that the Giants use which drive their success. One of the most telling is the Greek Parable of the Hedgehog and the Fox. The Giants are certainly hedgehog and Daniel Snyder’s Redskins are all fox. There are lessons in here on all levels. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.