Was It Really Just A Show?

It’s the day after the 44th Super Bowl and many people are scratching their heads wondering what happened to Peyton Manning and the Colts last night.  The underdog New Orleans Saints with quarterback Drew Brees tying a Super Bowl record with 32 completed passes, and coach Sean Payton making gutsy plays whipped the Colts. But wasn’t this more than a football game?

In my mind it was a metaphor for the comeback of the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana, and perhaps all the out of work people in the country.  The hundreds of thousands who think their careers are over can take a lesson from Drew .  This was about heart and soul and the fact that this team recognized it was not only playing for personal glory or the glory of the owners, the Benson family.  This team was showing the people of the 9th ward in N’Orlans, inhabitants of the gulf coast, and perhaps Americans in every town or city who are hurting, that heart and soul, spirit and conviction can make the difference even when the odds are stacked against you.

As most everyone who watched the game knows after the Super Bowl, Undercover Boss the new reality program aired.  I am no fan of reality TV but being a management consultant I was curious about this program.  So I watched as Waste Management’s Larry O’Donnell went undercover at a number of locations. I was touched by the spirit of the American worker which shown through like starbursts.  Hopefully Larry’s awareness of the negative impact of some of his own policies will enable him to become a more effective manager.

So what’s the point?  There are a few.  Effective managerial leadership as exemplified by the coaching staff and quarterback of the underdog Saints can indeed inspire workers to align, come together and do extraordinary things.  The entire organization was engaged in a goal larger than themselves. American workers, the ordinary women or men throughout our country has heart and soul and wants to work, to do a good job and be recognized for it.  We need to engage them.  Our system is out of whack, particularly with executive compensation at obscene multiples over first line workers.

Its time to celebrate the American worker at whatever level she or he is, and recognize each of us in our own way contributes to the whole whether it be a company, team or our communities.  Engagement makes the difference! Lets learn to engage our workers, colleagues and volunteers.