Colts Again: What Should Be True Now

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A few weeks back I shared my thoughts about the succession decision of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay to retain both General Manager Ryan Grigson and Head Coach Chuck Pagano. For me, the most interesting leadership point for succession was the need to do something different after the decision was made. By all accounts, relations between Grigson and Pagano were some degree of strained–whether highly so or simply just so, the interaction between them was not good. It was certainly not conducive to a productive environment for either the top level of the organization or the team itself. Irsay dealt with the issue of succession by continuing the status quo. That’s not necessarily bad but it does involve a crucial next step.

My point was that with Irsay’s decision not only to keep both men but to extend their contracts and, in Irsay’s vivid phrase “join them at the hips”, something would have to be done differently IMMEDIATELY in their future behaviors. From that day going forward, there would need to be some different element introduced in order to improve their working relationship. The status quo as a successful strategy depended on it.

I return now to this point. So, if today I was speaking with Irsay, Grigson, and Pagano, my question would be simple and straightforward: what has been different? What are you doing now that you didn’t do before? If there is no specific answer to that question, then the decision will not produce a new outcome. Failure, not success, will be the result.

That’s the takeaway for you and me as well. The risky decision must be followed by a change in conduct, action, and behavior up to that point. Learn from the example of history, in this case, the recent history of the Indianapolis Colts.