TULSA, Okla. — It is time for another football season.
I am not an avid football fan, but I do enjoy attending college football games. My wife and I attend several home games at our local university each year.
They are certainly not a football powerhouse, but I enjoy the atmosphere.
I spend most of my time at the game watching the coaches and the sidelines in general. You can tell the difference between the teams just based on the sidelines.
The good teams are organized, and every player or support personnel knows exactly what to do. There is no chaos going on no matter what the situation on the field.
Bad teams are unorganized with players running on or off the field late and you can generally see that everyone seems a little confused as to what to do from minute to minute.
Football coaches and laundry managers have very similar jobs. No matter what the game plan is, it can change in an instant.
A good player on the team gets hurt, and the whole game plan changes. A good laundry employee leaves your organization, and it can change the whole process.
Instead of two employees feeding the sheet ironer, it may take three now without that superstar in your ranks.
A football team gets a penalty, and it sets them back. The coaches must change their game plan to get them back where they expected to be.
A laundry machine breaks down, and it sets you back on your throughput. You must change your game plan to get to where you need to be.
Really good coaches handle the issues well. They know how to make the change from “This is what we want to do” to “This is what we have to do.”
No game or day in the laundry finishes the way it was planned at the beginning of the day.
Good football coaches are good leaders, and they usually write books on their philosophies.
I read quite of few of these books by coaches who I am really impressed with. I pick up little nuggets of advice from everyone that I have read.
My favorite coach wrote one of these books, and I try to re-read it every year. One of the stories he tells in his book is about a position coach that he had working for him.
This coach complained about every player he assigned to him. This player is too tall, this player is too short, I was hoping for a faster player, this player can’t tackle, etc.
The head coach finally told him, “Hey, this is your player, your job is to make this player successful in helping our team be successful. If you must change your system a little to fit better with this player, then do it, or you need to coach him up to fit what you expect.”
I can’t tell you how many meetings I have been in over the years that I hear this story playing in my head, especially when we are talking about maintenance.
This applicant doesn’t have enough electrical experience; this one doesn’t have enough plumbing experience. This one doesn’t have any experience in maintenance; this applicant has a ton of experience but has had too many jobs.
I hear this about applicants in other departments as well. Every manager has in their mind what employee they are looking for, but rarely one walks through the door being exactly what they are looking for.
I know I have evolved into the manager who just has two main rules: if you show up every day and don’t lie to me, I will figure out what you can do to help the organization.
I work with folks every day who are rock stars in our organization. Very few of them are working in the position we hired them for, and every one of them at one time or another had a supervisor who thought they were not going to make it and we should move on from them.
Leadership is leadership no matter what industry or sport they are in.
I would suggest reading any books by leaders who have excelled in their field. You will always pick up good insights into how you can improve your team.
They all seem to universally say that it is up to the coach to improve the player.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].