Is Your Message Shtick?

Jim Harbaugh coached the San Francisco NFL 49’ers to at least the NFC Championship game in each of his first 3 years with the team.  This, his 4th year, ended with a disappointing 8-8 record and no playoff appearance.

Did he suddenly become a bad coach?  Did the other teams suddenly have better coaching?

As Harbaugh now chooses to move back to the college ranks, one sports commentator said “his shtick works better with young guys who are gone after three or four years.”

That may or may not be true, but sometimes players (employees) need to hear a new voice.  What causes that?  Not every coach (executive) has to leave after a few short years because their players (employees) would no longer listen.  But some do.

Most of us know someone who reminds us of the cartoon talk bubble of Charlie Brown’s mother or teacher:  “blah, blah, blah….”  We hear, but don’t listen.

Leaders work to avoid that.  They want people to truly listen and act accordingly.

Some in leadership positions, Jim Harbaugh as one example, simply say the same thing over and over and lose the attention of the audience.

Is your team actually listening to you?

Shtick gets a short term reaction.  Repeated enough, it gets boring.

True vision communicated in a way that interests the audience is not shtick, but leadership.

The consistency of message never gets boring. It’s not motivational, but purposeful.  It is useful in providing guidance.

Your employees need clear vision and priorities, not motivation or entertainment, from you.  If your leadership message is shtick, I encourage you to consciously change that today.  If you notice eyes starting to glaze over, it’s shtick — regardless of how much you think it’s not.




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