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Put Your Actions Where Your Goals Are

Hi I’m Robin, and I’m a Cleveland Browns fan. I feel like I belong in a support group. Yes, it sucks to be me, but I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. I’ll be a Browns fan until the day I die, and I’m okay with that. Like so many other Browns fans all across the world, I watch the games each week with the hope that somehow both offense and defense will show up to play and get the W. But if you keep up with what’s happening in the league then you know that more often than not, we walk away with the L instead.

I hear the analyst, both professional and the ones on their sofas, talk about what the players could’ve and should’ve done differently, or how the coaches should’ve started this quarterback, or that one. Every week it’s the same thing. Because every week it seems the wrong decisions are made.

This week however, I thought I could do a little analysis of my own. As an organization designer I’m interested in the team’s overall effectiveness. What’s the Browns’ strategy? And how will the management/coaching staff’s short-term decisions and actions affect that strategy? Are the strategy and actions aligned, or are they a contradiction?

If I only had a day and a half to meet with the Browns management staff, we’d spend the time:

  1. Discussing their strategy; because it appears they do not currently have one

I have but one question to ask here…how far do you want this team to go, and what actions are you willing to take to get there? Okay, two questions.


  1. Defining the problem(s) of the organization

Often this step is incorrectly rushed through. When asked to define the problem, managers hastily acknowledge those things that are visible, which is usually only a symptom of the problem. Not the problem itself. My aim would be to get to the root cause of the problem. This may take longer than the day and a half that I have, depending on how quickly I can get everyone in the room to a place of trust. Note, this is a critical point to turning the team around. If I can’t get those in the room to be honest and tell their truth, defining the real problem becomes difficult, if not impossible.

Why spend so much time on defining the problem? Because if we don’t the Browns will be no better off next season. When you know better, you do better. So we’ve got to get to the real issue(s) so that management can make better decisions about how to move forward.

I posted the other day that when Jack Welch became the head of GE he announced that the top two strategies of the company was to be the market leader. And in Jack Welch fashion, he proceeded to do what he thought needed to be done to be #1 and #2 in that market. He fired thousands of people, divested parts of the business, and made other outrageous changes. And no matter what others may have thought about those changes, there is no mistake that the magnitude of his actions aligned with the intent of his strategy. Make no mistake, Cleveland’s GM, Ray Farmer is no Jack Welch, so we don’t expect him to make changes on that scale. But we do need he and Haslam, the team’s owner, to get real about their problems, and then put their actions where their goals are so that we can stop being the AFC North’s laughing stock.

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