Lose – Lose – Lose: Biz Lessons we learned from Texas Tech and Mike Leach

My Alma Mater, Texas Tech is a fine institution, a unique place, with unique people, but at it’s essense, Texas Tech football is a business like any other business.  I don’t have any inside information, these are just my observations.  Don’t want to encourage anyone to join any Facebook groups or anything, just want to offer my thoughts and how they relate to any business.

Too much Ego = Problems for everyone.  Say what you will about Mike Leach, he is a winner, an arrogant and slightly crazy winner, but a winner none the less, not a surprising revelation for anyone.  The “owners” the Atheltic Director, Chancellor, and the Board of Regents had a responsibility to build and maintain the relationship with Leach and the overwhelming positives Leach brought to the table are undisputable.  Big Egos are necessary for a big stage like Division 1 college football, we all know that, but what happened here is an example of letting your emotions overcome the facts.  So before you send that next “correcting” memo that could potentially box someone in the corner, think to yourself.  What do I want the outcome to be?  Practice empathy, then move forward.

Be real with your people.  Most people agree that there was significant acrimony over last year’s contract negotiation between Leach and the Adminstration and that this no doubt lead to “the real reason” behind Leach’s firing.  Unresolved issues between employers and employees never go away.  Problems get worse over time, not better.  The employer has the responsibility of maintaining employee satisfaction.  If Texas Tech was not happy with the deal they made, they should not have entered the deal in the first place.  If you want to compete on high level, you must pay market rates for your talents and the ultimate deal was as “market” deal.  They were unhappy with the Adam James situation, but had TTU stood behind Leach, it would have won them many, many points with their Alumni and the nation, as the ultimate story made Adam and Craig James look like a couple of little league brats.  How cool would that have been?  Instead, TTU looked like a scared dog beaten by it’s owners, James and ESPN.  Dishonesty never pays.

Pride goeth before the fall.  As for Leach, had he swallowed his pride and had a slightly better attitude, he would still be our coach.  Instead, he chose to stand on principle and say he did nothing wrong.  That being said, when you have a bad situation, as all companies do, the leadership has a responsibility to sit down with their people and get them to see the big picture and more importantly what actions should be taken to recitfy that situation.  In this case, Leach could not or would step back and look at the big picture.  If this happens in your business, ask yourself,  should I prove a point to this guy or should I look at his “body of work” and let go ahead let him be an ass for the moment.  Clearly, they were sick of this guy and wanted to prove a point.

Always study your outcomes before you make a major move.  Anything done with emotion as the driving factor is usually going to end badly.  This could have been avoided via strong leadership by the adminstration.

Here is my list of losers in this deal:

Football Program – the number one revenue generator has been damaged.

Leach – Jobless.

Alumni & Fans – pissed at everyone.

The University – bad repuation created for future coaches – black mark on their management capabilities.  Not the way you want to be viewed by your peers.

So at the end of the day, was it worth it over one lazy player and his overbearing microphone holding father?

Think before you act, look at the big picture, be upfront with your people and remember that Pride is first on the list of seven deadly sins for a reason.

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