16 Leadership Quotes and Lessons From NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
The following are the quotes and applicationsÂ leaders can all take from the article.
- Leaders Want Information Before It Is Made Public - You can’t leapfrog leaders.Â The articleÂ recounts Tank Johnson being the victim of a violent crime.Â Â When he wished to purchase aÂ hand gun to protect himself, Johnson contacted Goodell first.Â
- LeadersÂ Find SolutionsÂ If Included Early - Upon hearing from Johnson, Goodell arranged forÂ private security to protect him and his family.Â If you ever make a mistake, be sure to proactvely goÂ to those in charge and say these words – “I don’t want you to hear this from someone else”.Â Leaders respect this approach rather than a cover-up or “hoping it will go away”.Â As a result, often they will assistÂ youÂ in findingÂ solutions.Â
- InfluenceÂ - “The NFL’s become the most important entertainment vehicle in the U.S.Â More important than movies, than great TV shows.Â The [NFL's] TV audience is 30% bigger than it was two years ago.Â It’s unheard of in a time when the average household has 120 channels.” – Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universals Sports & Olympics
- TrustÂ - King says “One ownership source says Goodell’s level of trust among owners is so high that if he recommends an agreement…it will easily get the three-quarters vote necessary for passage.”Â Leaders, what is the level of trust you have with those you steward?Â
- Communication and Listening Skills - Many owners state they feel more connected with the league office now than with the previous commissioner.Â In addition, Goodell also frequently communicatesÂ with fans, players, and owners through email, phone, social media, television and print mediums.Â Leaders, are you using every means possible to connect with everyone?Â
- Creativity - It was Goodell who championed the NFL season starting on a Thursday nightÂ and movingÂ the NFL Draft to prime-time over multiple days to make each a bigger event.
- “Change before you’re forced to.Â Find a better solution.” – Goodell
- Father’s Role - “If there is one thing I want to accomplish in my life besides becoming commissioner of the NFL, it is to make you proud of me.” – Goodell in a letter to his father, 1981
- Bridge Building - “He listens to all sides and has the courage of his convictions.” – former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue
- Effort and Preparation - “I learned in high school that I was going to have to outwork people…If I work harder than him, I’ll beat him.Â And to this day, I overprepare.” – Goodell
- PassionÂ - Goodell so wanted to be part of the NFL that he began his career as an intern clipping newspaper stories and performing other menialÂ responsibilities.
- Courage - “If you stand up for yourself, you’ll fit in.” – advice from QB Ken O’Brien to Goodell when he began with the Jets.
- Wisdom – “The league is better off making no deal than a bad one.”
- AccomplishmentÂ - Goodell pleases bottom-line loving owners.
- Memory -Â Apex Leaders never forget anything.Â It is fascinating to me that during Super Bowl week, Goodell said “He [Bill Belichick] went out andÂ stonewalled the press [concerning spygate].Â I was deceived.”Â
- Accountability - Goodell’s philosophy is that what players say to a large extentÂ is irrelevant.Â It’s their behavior and actions that matter.Â If a player is going to be accountable, “we’d be able to work together.Â But it’s a long process.”
Finally, a contrast between the two sides of the most powerful man in sports:.
- To Michael Vick - “You had an incredible year.Â Remember the progress.Â I’m very proud of you.”Â Vick responds – “Thanks Roger!Â I will continue to make you and my family proud!”
- From Ebersol - “There was a coldness and a ‘that’s it’ tone in Roger’s voice that was chilling.Â At his heart Roger can be a cold son of a b*$#h…He’s going to do what he thinks is best for the National Football League.Â It’s what he’s always done.”
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