What Can We Learn From The Debacle in Oakland?

lane-kiffin-320x230As a leader, I’m always looking for leadership lessons.  I’m trying to soak up the experiences that I see in the headlines each and every day.  This week with Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, coming out and crucifying his former coach, it was a great opportunity to learn an important lesson.

I’ll be the first to admit that what you own you should be able to control. But even that principle has its limits.  Here are the five things I take away from this bizarre news story:

1.    Anytime you isolate yourself
into a little world of your own mind and way of thinking, you can justify doing anything; even things that are incredibly bizarre.  So be careful about talking yourself into believing certain things.

2.    It comes out of number one, and that’s the whole concept of group think.  Once you begin to isolate yourself and talk to yourself, everyone around you who depends on you for their livelihood or certain benefits begin to agree with you without challenge.  It’s called group think.  That’s why a bunch of people can behave in bizarre ways when they simply just close off all communication with other outside counselors.

3.    A bizarre behavior of unhealthy decisions over time destroys your credibility.
Here’s what we can learn from this: be careful how many times you choose the nuclear option when dealing with conflict.  You do it too often and you are the one who becomes suspect, no matter how right you may be.

4.    Lane Kiffin, like him or not, is a person.
He has family members.  Trying to destroy a person you disagree with only backfires on you.  Remember, no matter how violent the disagreement, we are people.  And people matter more than anything else.  Without people you don’t have a football team, an organization, a church, or even a family.

5.    The most important observation is that though Mr. Davis owns the Oakland Raiders, he owns it for the public good.
It exists by the benevolence, the goodwill, and the willingness of the Oakland fans and other people around the country to see them play.  You can’t simply thumb your nose and say, “I own it and I’ll do what I want,” and expect people to continue to support you over time.  The Oakland Raiders would be absolutely nothing without the NFL, and without her fans.  And when you depend on other people for your livelihood, you have to learn how to play nice.

These are my take-aways from this experience.  What are some of yours?

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