So which is it? Do teams win championships because of superior talent or because of superior coaching? Or, to put it another way, are companies successful because they have better workers or because they have better management? Maybe the analogy is a bad one. Maybe the correlation between success in the sports world and success in the business world is a misleading one. Although truthfully, I think the correlation is quite strong and the longer I live and observe both the sports and business worlds, the more convinced I become that the analogy is a good one. As for the question itself, it has long been debated and perhaps there is no totally correct answer. I have seen both businesses and sports teams do well in spite of terrible management. Their success came not because of great leadership but because of a superior product or system that gave them a competitive advantage or in some cases, poorly run organizations were successful because their competition was weak. And yet in other situations, highly productive and efficient employees have made up for mediocre management. In the sports world, the best of coaches cannot make up for a lack of talent and vise-versa. Yet some teams are so loaded that they could win with almost no coaching at all. Of course, the continuously successful teams, in sports or business, almost always seem to have that blend of talented players (employees) and solid coaches (management). Success over the long haul typically requires a fair amount of both. As I type this I am reminded of a great Michael Jordan story that it is said took place during his early days with the then very mediocre Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were in a close game and had fallen behind by about 8 points late in the fourth quarter and Jordan kicked it up a notch, scored the last 10 or 12 points and virtually single handedly pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. After the game, assistant coach Johnny Bach chastised Jordan for hogging the ball so much at the end of the game and then hit Jordan with the old cliche “there is no “I” in the word team.” To which Jordan replied, “No, but there is an “I” in the word win and that’s what we just did.” I had the pleasure of seeing Jordan and company play many a game and it was my opinion then and still is today that virtually any coach would have won the championships the Bulls won no matter how good he or she was. The talent was so deep and the competitive drive so strong that they could have coached themselves and won!
One Strange Winter
Our highly unusual weather patterns continue and I gotta tell you, maybe the global warming thing is for real in spite of all the fun I have made about it over the past few years. Today is March 5 here in Chicago and it is snowing like crazy with much more on the way. We have had all kinds of snow in the last couple of weeks after a virtually snow-less December and January. Two years in a row of really unusual weather patterns and not just in Chicago, but seemingly everywhere. Could I have been so wrong on this. Of course I could have been … I am regularly wrong on these things!!!
Glass Expo Northeast
… Starts tomorrow! Lots of good things going on here at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge, N.Y. A super line-up of exhibitors and speakers. So why not stop in if you’re in the area and have a few minutes. For more information, you can go to www.usglassmag.com/gene. Hope to see you there!
Saving It Forward
I remember seeing a movie a few years ago that dealt with the concept (which I still hear referenced every now and then) about “paying it forward” meaning that you do something good for someone in advance of getting anything from them (or anyone else for that matter) in the way of favorable treatment. Kinda like the “golden rule” on steroids or something. Many thought the movie was a bit sappy and the concept totally improbable in the modern era, but it was a cute story and while I think the kid who was the main character died in the end of the movie, the point was made that we shouldn’t always wait for someone to treat us well before we treat them well. At least this was my take on it.
Okay … well, with that concept in mind, I am now proposing that we start saving it forward. As in save the earth, save our country, save our children from what we are doing to ourselves and even more so to them by continuing to take on insurmountable debt which our kids and their kids are going to have to pay off. What is wrong with us? When will the insanity end? You know, now that I think about it, our government has put a whole new meaning to the term “paying it forward.”
Okay, depending on who you were listening to, it sounded pretty much like the world might end as we know it when the “Sequester Thing” went into effect and here we are several days after it kicked in and I have not as yet seen any noticeable differences but then again, others are saying they really have not started as yet and so the real disaster is yet to happen but will do so at the end of the month. Whatever! But here is an idea that I think might be worth trying … what if we sequestered all of the elected officials? Sent them home for six months without pay or perks and let them mingle and maybe even work with real people … not other politicians … but real everyday people. I’d like to know not only what this would save us in salaries and benefits for all of these guys but also what would be saved in legislative and pork barrel costs. Instead of laying off all of the janitors and maintenance people that the President said would have to go, let’s lay off the politicians. I would think the cost of one politician would be about the same as three janitors so this sounds like the approach we ought to be taking. I’m sure I am not the first to suggest something along these lines but isn’t it about time we actually tried something like this?
The Sports Thing
Yes, I know it is March and of course I know that spring training is in full swing but come on … do you really expect me to talk about anything other than the Chicago Blackhawks right now? They won again last night to extend their unbeaten (in regulation time) streak to 23 games in a row! People, this is quite an achievement. They beat Minnesota 5-3 and the game was never in doubt. I know that some sports writers are comparing them to the Miami Heat (basketball team) which has won 15 NBA games in a row but I think it is a rather dumb comparison. Completely different on many levels and that is not meant to take anything away from LeBron James and his Miami teammates. Can the Hawks keep this up? Do you realize that in this lock-out shortened season we are now past the half-way point? Is it even conceivable to go the entire season without a regulation time loss in today’s NHL? I don’t think so … but then again, I didn’t think they would get this far either. Guess we’ll see, won’t we???
The Quotable Thing
Regular reader and longtime friend Art Lafferty sent this in for this week’s quote. Credit for the quote itself goes to Douglas Casey, a classmate of former President Bill Clinton while at Georgetown University. As always, Art, thanks for reading and thanks for contributing.
“Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”
Have A Great Week, Everybody!!!