The 'Remember When' New York Giants
John Mara thinks he is changing, when in reality, he’s just doing more of the same with new faces.
We all know kicking trash cans won’t solve the problem but, hey, maybe it helps ease frustration.
New York Giants President John Mara was so unhappy with his team’s loss this past Sunday that he took his anger out on the trash cans above. His discontent really stems not from this recent game, but from the last five years where his team has an 18-49 record, one of the worst in the NFL. Mara’s Giants have only one winning season since 2012.
His frustration is understandable. He has tried almost everything. In the last five years, he has hired three coaches, fired two and made various other internal changes. But the results are the same.
Because of all the tweaks Mara has attempted to make, none has addressed his core issues. He thinks he is changing, when in reality, he’s just doing more of the same with new faces.
Ever hear the adage “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves?”
It describes the inability of grandchildren to manage the wealth passed down to them from their grandparents and parents. It has hung over the world's highest net-worth families for decades, threatening the continuation of family legacies. It also refers to the data-tested theory that by the time the third generation is running the family business, it could be in deep trouble.
Third-generation leadership has many issues, the first of which pertains to nostalgia. Everyone wants to “remember when” the grandparents ran the business and continue in the traditions of how the founding members operated — particularly if they were successful.
The other core issue is that everyone in the family wants a job — they have grown up in the business and, thus, think they know it. Reluctance to embrace change is reinforced as new family members enter the organization who have only been taught and trained in the old ways. Even though it’s perceived that young, fresh faces are entering the workforce, their methods are deeply rooted in the past. The lack of fresh blood causes stagnation and an unwillingness to listen to outside influences.
But as the saying goes, “If everyone is thinking the same way, then no one is thinking.”
Instead of kicking cans, Mara needs to hire an outside consulting firm to dig deep into his institutional problems — and then listen to its advice. As the leader, he must acknowledge he is not solving the pertinent issues with his attempts at change. He needs a fresh set of eyes and, more importantly, a fresh set of thinkers who don’t remember when, but embrace now.
Let those cans serve as a reminder to all of us.
Until we ask the right questions, we will never solve the right problems.