“Championship Culture” is what York seeks

Oh really, Jed?  Isn’t that what you had with Jim Harbaugh?

Let’s review what a “Championship Culture” looks like:

  1. Focus on the main issue that generates success.
  2.  Always be on the lookout for new ideas.  If you don’t capitalize on new techniques, your opponent will.
  3. Collect data and let the data help you make decisions.
  4. Make sure the incentives you give your players line up with the goals you wish to achieve.
  5. Anticipate resistance when attempting to change the way things are done.  Be willing to address the “locker room lawyers” immediately.
  6. Your organization must be constantly improving.
  7. Be transparent about your decisions.  Let your team know why decisions were made.
  8. Create a sense of pride and appreciation for hard work.
  9. Be comfortable with conflict and competition.
  10. Create an environment where teammates can monitor the progress of each other and encourage  each other.

Well Jed these are Jim Harbaugh’s keys to success from the Leadership Case Studies series, “Strategies of Jim Harbaugh:  How the University of Michigan Head Football Coach Changes the Culture to Immediately Increase Performance”.   Sound familiar Jed?  As pointed out in the case study these are the same processes and techniques used by Jim Harbaugh to establish  championship cultures at University of San Diego, Stanford University, the San Francisco 49ers and now the University of Michigan.

Culture change isn’t easy and it can and will likely rub some people the wrong way.  When Bill Walsh was hired by the 49ers, nearly 40 years ago, he also instituted an organization- wide culture change process and reorganization.  Those executives, coaches and players that didn’t or wouldn’t get on board either left the organization on their own or were immediately fired by Bill.  Bill wasn’t necessarily popular with existing staff and players but he had the 100% support of his boss, Eddie Debartolo.  Mr. D was burning inside to bring a championship to San Francisco and knew what it took!

Yes Jim Harbaugh rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because, among other things, he wanted to totally focus on winning football not stadium opening ceremonies,  glad handing corporate sponsors, talking to the media and, most obviously, kissing management’s ass (that included you, Paraag Marathe or Trent Baalke).  His attitude and  culture processes certainly offended you, your family, Paraag and Trent.  No doubt if Bill Walsh was alive he would have endorsed and supported Jim in his efforts to build that championship culture in the 49ers’ organization.  In fact Bill Walsh, before he passed away, interviewed and hired Jim  to transform Stanford’s losing football program into a nationally ranked program.

Well Jed you screwed up when you took Trent Baalke’s side in the Harbaugh power struggle because Trent is gone and the 49ers are now one of the worst teams in the NFL.  To paraphrase Col. Nathan R. Jessup from the movie A Few Good Men, “Jed, you can’t handle the truth!”  Now what is needed is a complete culture transformation throughout the 49ers organization but not just on the football field, locker room and football front offices.   The culture change is most needed in the business executive offices.   You and your business leadership team need to embrace the culture change or you will continue to hire and fire GMs and coaches as well as lose football games, fans and, ultimately, revenue.




About Bay Area Sports Guy

San Francisco sports fan, leadership student and zen sensei.
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