Thursday, August 28, 2008

Expectations start at the top

You've likely heard the old saying about leadership starting at the top. A strong, active, and involved owner, founder, CEO, or president set the tone and pace for the entire organization. Whatever they emphasize or value becomes the focus of those who work there.

In the words of Peter Kyne, "The morale of an organization is not built from the bottom up; it filters from the top down."

So I took notice when I came across a note about Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt calling a late July meeting with his team. According to this article, Hunt told the players that "they should expect to be champions when they play for the Chiefs."

Said Hunt after the meeting: “That’s something they’re going to hear a lot from Carl (Peterson) and a lot from Herm (Edwards) and the coaching staff, but I wanted them to know that expectation started at the top with me. That’s the direction we’re headed.”

“When the coach says something, it’s one thing,” said former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese (who now works for ESPN). “When the owner says something, it’s totally different. It tends to get everyone’s attention. Everybody understands that he better do what he’s supposed to. Having him say that, it kind of put a spark in everybody. It tends to get everybody pulling in the same direction. He’s the guy that signs everybody’s paycheck.”

According to the article:

Hunt also laid out his expectations for this season. Other than to say he wanted the Chiefs to be competitive for a playoff spot, his goals had little to do with wins and losses and more to do with laying the foundation for greater success.

“I’m expecting the young players to develop,” he said. “It’s not just the first-year players but also the guys in their second and third years. I want to see them really make the leaps that you expect to see at that stage of their career.