Raiders Teach Chiefs Winning Strategy

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Game Plan / The end of season Raider versus Chiefs game was sold out. In the 4th quarter, on the 4th down with 57 seconds left on the game clock we had one last chance to score the winning touchdown! It was my fourth season as the starting left guard for the Kansas City Chiefs and I had been here before. The Los Angeles Raider defense was anchored by future NFL Hall of Famers and a legion of All-Pro players including, Ted Hendricks, Howie Long, Mike Haynes, Lyle Alzado, Rod Martin, Lester Hayes, and my favorite, world class smart-aleck Matt Millen. As our offensive line dropped to our stance we scanned the field desperately hunting for Raider jersey #83, Ted Hendricks “The Mad Stork.” As a master of chaos, he systematically upended every offensive line he faced that season. Stork would line up and shift moving in front of two to three different Offensive linemen during the snap count and then explode out the millisecond the ball was released from our center’s hands. The Raider legion followed; swarming over the offense birthing offensive linemen nightmares. Whether an NFL coach facing a tough Super Bowl team or a Business manager facing an impossible deadline, it is essential that leaders design a simple strategy, suited to their team’s talents and abilities. Strategy that is too complex to implement under intense pressure and challenge results in failure. Read more…

The Eye in the Sky

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Discernment / Leaders face intimidation working in our “feel good” society. They must remain focused on principles and grow a spine to create change. In today’s world, awards are given to individuals for showing up, trying hard, wanting it, and even for hoping to achieve success. Unfortunately evidence proves that feeling good does not always produce desired results. Leaders must evaluate and discern where change must occur and provide a contrast between what one is doing and what one needs to do. At first, the person who receives correction is often surprised, even offended because feedback is taken personally. Good leaders are capable of facing resistance, overcoming discomfort and translating objective evaluation into a format that makes sense to the one receiving it. Read more…

Trophy Wife

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Overcomer / My wife, Nicky, has a presence. When people first meet her they see a beautiful, kind woman and don’t realize that underneath her gentleness lies the courage and strength of a Navy Seal. Her capacity to overcome and grow stronger when faced with impossible challenge sustained me and our family when I lived at Loma Linda University. Nicky developed these qualities overcoming her childhood. Once removed from her home as a freshman in high school she received a second chance. Her high school partnered her with an academic advisor Mr. Slater. He taught her to rely on her faith and her brains to not only redefine herself but also to create the life she wanted. They focused on what she could control; work, grades, and earning acceptance to college. Nicky understood she had no power to change her past but she had power to determine what she did with it. By the time I met her at USC she had developed into a force of selfless love wrapped in a core of character and strength. Nicky taught me that it is not the details of one’s suffering, sacrifice and overcoming that are important, it is what one learns from them and what one does with them that matters. Read more…

Do I Have What It Takes?

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COMRADERIE / To thrive in the NFL, players confront weaknesses and strengthen them. Prior to every NFL season, players attend training camp for 6 to 8 weeks practicing and training to hone their skills. After daily practices players watch films during which they receive honest and objective evaluation. Once a player’s weakness is defined, coaches and team members work together to strengthen skills and during drills they are given immediate feedback until they make needed change. Read more…

Half Time Adjustments

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TRANSFORMATION / Like many of my friends in the NFL, my career ended sooner than I planned. After a gut check, I knew it was time to move on. I retired from the NFL in 1988, after being cut by the Oakland Raiders and did so knowing I would miss it terribly. For thirty years football defined me and my experience developed a toughness, discipline, and fortitude. Read more…