Monday, July 19, 2010

Running a Business Like George Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner was known as "The Boss" in his time owning the Yankees. When he passed away last week, Steinbrenner took with him a complicated legacy as an owner who produced championships but a boss who could torment his employees. He was at the same time charitable (he had a saying that if more than one person knows about a good deed you've done, you've done it for the wrong reasons) and a criminal (made illegal contributions to Richard Nixon) but always interesting. Today the New York Post went through how to succeed the Steinbrenner way, but while they have praised the man and the team's success, it's also helpful to note that "The Boss" was not always the ideal boss:

BE FOCUSED From the day George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 million until he permanently stepped down last week, the former shipping executive had one all-consuming goal: to win. And he seems to have spent pretty close to every waking minute thinking about how to make it happen — just ask the minions who fielded his constant phone calls, endured his tirades and his meddling, and spoke of his obsessive attention to every corner of the organization. And his focus never let up, even in the off-season.
“Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing,” he famously said.
That was just one of the pieces of advice put forth by the post article. The others included "work tirelessly", "don't be afraid to shift gears--even if you swore you wouldn't", "fire when ready", "be a boss, not a friend", "hire top talent, and pay them well", "demand results", "set clear goals", "never always criticize your employees in public", "pay attention to the little things", "don't give your stars preferential treatment", "build your brand", "have a heart OK", and "don't rest on your laurels". All of these are good advice for someone running a business and while George M. Steinbrenner III was very good at accomplishing some of these in a way that helps an organization, some of his actions certainly hurt his organization and his employees. A good balance is certainly needed for an organization to have successful leadership.

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