Growing up in Scranton, PA, surrounded by five sisters, Tennessee Titans Coach Mike Munchak learned early on the keys to survival on and off the football field.
Speaking to a crowded room of business professionals this week, the Hall of Famer says his career started as a paper boy earning upwards of $30 a week. When his interest in sports conflicted with delivering afternoon papers, he paid his sisters a $1 a week to take over the route, a wise business investment at age 14. Never mind that the topic remains a point of contention at family reunions.
That kind of strategic thinking attributes to the Coach’s business philosophy today. A self-described optimist and rule follower, this NFL coach says his leadership starts with being true to himself, being real and authentic, and being a professional, which he defines as knowing what to do and then doing it.
Other leadership qualities he invokes:
1) Start with a vision. In his case, he wants to win a Super Bowl. So does Titans owner Bud Adams - which leads to the next quality.
2) You have to want it. If you can’t tell that Adams wants a new Super Bowl ring, then you’re not paying attention. The recent and overt courtship of Peyton Manning exemplifies someone with a vision, knowing what they want and doing everything they can to get it.
3) Have a plan. Explain the plan. As Monday morning quarterbacks and draft experts, everybody thinks they know more than the actual decision makers, players on the team, sports agents and bean counters. It’s how it works. But Munchak has a rationale for his decisions; you may not agree with his explanation, but he does have one.
4) Be involved in the plan. This means aligning expectations, consistency and accountability.
5) Get out of the way. Let people be themselves and do their job.
Key takeaways: You have to be yourself. You have to want it. You have to be a pro.