Early in 2007, Tom Coughlin, head coach of the New York Giants of the National Football League, was in danger of losing his job. His team had lost seven of their last nine games and was characterized by in-fighting and bickering. Coach Coughlin had always been a no-nonsense hard-nosed football coach with a stern demeanor who motivated his players with fear. During the off-season the 61 year old Coughlin completely reversed his approach to coaching and started motivating his players with trust instead of fear. He started smiling, let his players get to know him as a person and communicated in a number of ways that he cared about them. The turnaround was instant. The team came together and the players gave Coach Coughlin everything they had, week in and week out, which culminated in a 2008 Super Bowl victory over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. No, they didn’t win the Super Bowl in 2009, but the still made it to the second round of the playoffs.
I would like to share an excerpt from an email I received from a recent seminar participant about a highly effective manager:
“I have been reading the manuscript of your new book Instant Turnaround! The concept is so simple, yet it’s amazing how most people do not understand it or have time for it—not even in their own families! It reminds me of a super effective manager I once had. Daily he would visit as many people in our department as he could with a never empty cup of coffee. He would sit with the person he was visiting for up to 15 or 20 minutes exchanging information about himself and listening to obtain information from the worker. This created a very happy workforce and everyone went more than the extra mile necessary to accomplish their work. Needless to say, this manager was sorely missed when he was promoted.” This manager showed a genuine interest in the people who worked for him and they went out of their way to make him successful–it doesn’t get any simpler than that.