General Electric, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Link Between

What’s the connection between the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL and General Electric?


That’s the term used by John Flannery, the new CEO of General Electric. After recent reports of dismal earnings and forecasts for GE, Flannery announced that this year was a “reset” year. He acknowledged, openly and clearly, that the massive corporation had not only failed to meet expectations, it had failed utterly and miserably. Flannery admitted that there weren’t immediate prospects of reversing that condition. It would require, he said, a long and arduous effort. And remember, GE was assumed not that long ago to be the epitome of corporate strength and success.

Refreshing honesty and forthrightness from Flannery.

Now, on to the Indianapolis Colts. Not that long ago they were GE-esque in the NFL. High-quality franchise and team, among the league’s elite.

Times have changed for the Colts just as they did for GE.

The question is whether or not the formal leadership of the Colts—namely, owner Jim Irsay, his executive team (especially, three Irsay daughters), and general manager Chris Ballard—should emulate Flannery and declare that the remainder of the 2017 season is a reset.

I won’t dive into the pro’s and con’s of the football side of this equation. I’m posing this as a leadership question. First, can a leader make such a declaration. And second, if made, what action does a leader take in implementing a reset? Third, does a reset approach need to be public or can it effectively function behind the scenes?

The reset leader. It’s a unique moment in time and period of time in the life of a leader.