Tebow and Turnarounds

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Unless you have been living in a cave or immersed in the opening of a new international property, you have heard about the polarizing and perplexing story of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Now, you may not follow the NFL or even like sports, but most anyone in our/any business can appreciate the turnaround of a brand name franchise and creating “fandemonium.” I thought I’d pass along a quick note from the eye of the Timmy Typhoon.

The NFL’s Denver Broncos turnaround story (worst to first in the same season, after years of irrelevance) is being written by many contributors. There have been clutch stops, picks, runs, throws, catches, kicks, and fumble recoveries. As is almost always the case in a team sport (read as your business), it takes a united team effort (“running on all cylinder,” “in the zone”) to win.

As the early season losses mounted and the Bronco brain trust was feeling as if there was nothing left to lose, they unleashed Tim Tebow. What was initially significant about this “strategic” move was that Tebow, the third string quarterback, leapfrogged over the 2nd string quarterback to become the starter. It was the harbinger of many strange and wonderful (if you bleed orange and blue) things to come such as, downgrading the playbook to a high school level and trading last year’s leading receiver and starting QB mid-season. Now, we have the incredibly fashioned string of wins and a self described “higher-calling” individual playing his position in an unorthodox manner—a truly compelling drama for fans and non-fans of all persuasions.

I have no idea how many more rabbits will be pulled out of the hat by Tebow & Co., but up to this point, there are a few practical turnaround takeaways and leadership affirmations worth sharing.

1. Attention leaders: It never hurts to have created a multitude of rabid fans in your last position.
2. Past behaviors/come-through-in-the-clutch-success – by an individual – should never be overlooked when attempting to predict future behaviors/come-through-in-the-clutch-success
3. Great leadership is the dynamic influence/impact on others, and what you do and who you are (together) are more powerful than either alone
4. A new way (read as a new right way) hardly ever comes from re-doing the same things, unless you dust off a playbook so old that everyone has forgotten how to defend it.
5. If you hope to be successful as a leader, you’ll need to rely on more than yourself to pull it off.
6. If you wish to have a widely accepted and rapid leadership transition, “selfless” leadership (serving others, accepting personal responsibility for failures, spreading credit for accomplishments, humble in victory and defeat) lies in stark contrast to “selfish” leadership.
7. Talent, hard work, unity, and faith (a potent team combination) can create more than your fair share of luck; culture and chemistry matter much.
8. Just one “right” person at the right time can make all the difference in the world, but then, you knew that already.