5 Lessons CEOs Can Learn from Tim Tebow
Here come Tim Tebow leadership lessons.
First, for anyone unfamiliar with the Tim Tebow phenomenon, here’s the story in brief. Tebow is a college football Heisman Trophy winner who now plays quarterback for the NFL’s Denver Broncos. He wears his evangelical faith on his sleeve and wins in unconventional ways, both of which have created controversy and media buzz. But what’s really amped the buzz to a high pitch is his winning record since becoming the Broncos’ quarterback: six wins in the last eight games, all of them against improbable odds. (ESPN analyzed the team’s chances of winning those six games based on where they stood in the fourth quarter and found the odds to be 380,000:1) Now the media story has become: “What is it about this man that makes him a winner?”
Let’s break down five key qualities he brings to the game and see how they correlate to attributes of a successful CEO:
1. It’s all about the team
Tebow respects his teammates, and makes them want to play their hardest. He’s humble, authentic, positive and confident that he has the right people in place to win every game. Isn’t that what senior management teams need from their CEO? At the expansion stage, each person on your team can have a critical impact, so it’s important that CEOs check their ego at the door, bring in the right teammates and empower them to confidently step forward.
Tebow led the University of Florida to two national college titles, so his teammates understand that he knows how to win. He can strategize, manage in tight spots, and has the nimbleness of mind to quickly adjust when events are going in an unexpected direction. Likewise, a successful CEO must have the knowledge and competence, as well as good decision-making skills, to correctly analyze a situation and determine what to do next.
When you believe in yourself, you inspire confidence among your team and make them want to go to the wall for you. That’s one of Tebow’s strongest qualities, say his coach and teammates. Expansion-stage CEOs, too, need leadership skills that make their team feel like they can do almost anything and make them want to fight alongside their leader.
4. Never say die
Perhaps Tebow’s most famous speech came in 2008 after a one-point upset loss. Afterwards, Florida went on to win the rest of their games and their third national championship. Here’s part of what he said: “I promise you one thing. A lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season.” In today’s tough business climate, a CEO needs that true grit, a willingness to work harder and put in longer hours than anyone else.
5. Positive purposefulness
Teammates of Tebow praise his on-field serenity and clarity of purpose. He knows where he wants to go. Likewise, the best expansion-stage CEOs define the company’s aspirations and point everyone in the same direction. Like Tebow, they show their team the goal line and get every part of the organization driving in that direction.