The Dallas Cowboys Are Starting to get it Right

I think there is a very good lesson to be learned from the recent success of the Dallas Cowboys football team. Much had been made about their poor record and poor performances in “December” in the past several years. This year they have done well by winning some of their high profile December games.


All of the sudden all the analysts and critics are back on the Dallas Cowboys band wagon. They are riding high. The team is riding high. The fans are riding high. Success makes life good. I too am impressed by their recent performance, but I also remember the words of one of their previous and most successful coaches, Jimmy Johnson.


He said to enjoy the success, but to remember that you were only one week from humility.


What he was saying is that past performances and successes would not guarantee future successes. You had to continue to work hard, and continue to perform at the levels that generated your success if you wanted to be a success in the future. The competition is always going to try and beat you.


The challenge for you and your business is going to be to look forward and continue to try and step up your performance, and fight the urge to look back and bask in the glory of previous victories.  You have already been paid for those.


As for the Dallas Cowboys, we’ll see how they do. They may have found the key to improving their December performance, but they still have not won a playoff game in 14 years……..

Cloud Computing – Yes, Cloud Management – No

As the use of cloud computing proliferates, the ability to access applications via the network without having a defined path or structure to them, we also seem to be proliferating “Cloud Management”. Cloud management is the creation of a matrix structured organization where both responsibilities and reporting structures are overlapped.


Cloud management can occur when Sales reports via a geographic structure, Operations, Marketing and Support report into functional structures and customers are organized by vertical market alignments. The cloud gets worse when none of these reporting structures converge until the very senior most levels in the organization.


The net result is that usually each reporting structure begins to duplicate aspects of the other functions due to the number and difficulty of management hand-offs and the lack of overall alignment. Sales will create operations and support “like” groups, operations will create sales and support “like” groups,etc. to make sure that their needs are looked after.


When multiple groups have similar responsibilities, it ends up that no group has final responsibility.One group will always think another has the responsibility, and can point somewhere else when the goal is not achieved. The matrix organization structure can be very elegant in theory, but very difficult to implement and work well. Organizations where reporting structures, responsibilities and objectives are clear, simple and defined reduce functional overlap and clear up the business confusion that the “Cloud”can create.

John McKay Was Right

John McKay was a very successful college football coach at the University Of Southern California (USC) in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. I am not aware of many unsuccessful football coaches there, but I guess there may have been one or two. Coach McKay was also the first head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers professional football team when they came into the league in 1976.


As an expansion team the Buccaneers did not win a single game in their first season. Despite all the planning, preparation and strategies, they were not able to win. There was a question of the talent that was present on the team, but coach McKay never said that was the issue.


What coach McKay did say is best summed up in a comment he made in response to a question he was asked after one Tampa Bay’s many losses. When he was asked what he thought of his team’s execution that day, he thought for a second and then said…


“I am in favor of it.”


What he brought out, with a sense of humor, is that planning and strategy and talent and everything else is good, but it is the execution, the doing of the things that you are supposed to do, that is the key to winning, or losing.


Making sure you have a workable plan and that you have the best talent are keys to a successful business. Making sure that everyone is executing their responsibilities and achieving their objectives is the key to successful leadership. Your team’s“execution” will be the difference between winning and losing in the market place.