I promise this will not be a political diatribe against Donald Trump, nor is it commentary about his political aims. This is a football blog. And it’s a management thing.
Trump is off to a rocky start to achieving his goals. We’ve seen this before in Washington, not in politics, but in football in Daniel Snyder’s early days of Redskins ownership.
Snyder’s entrepreneurial spirit bedeviled him in his first ten years running the team. The president shows the same symptomatic behavior.
Snyder, the self-made billionaire before age 30, aimed to be the reason the Redskins succeeded. It worked for him as visionary leader of Snyder Communications.
It took the longest time and many embarrassments before Snyder accepted that an NFL franchise does not need a start-up genius. The job calls for organizational leadership. For old line organizations like the Washington Redskins, or Six Flags America, it called for the management brilliance of Jack Welch, the legendary chairman of General Electric.
Except for the interlude of Joe Gibbs’ return in 2004, most of Snyder’s rule has been characterized by overvaluing big moves with free agents while undervaluing in house expertise in his own front office.
Snyder’s big swings were misses. He could fix the Redskins defense by signing Albert Haynesworth without consulting Greg Blache who neither wanted Haynesworth, nor changed his defensive schemes to keep promises made to Haynesworth about his role. Snyder personally worked the deals and “cleverly” gamed the salary cap. He was the dealmaker who wrote bad deals.
Lets not get into that whole Vinny Cerrato thing.
Mr. Trump’s first month in office mirrors Snyder’s early days with the ‘Skins. We believe it’s for the same reason.
Trump ran a lucrative enterprise from a mid-tier business. Nothing in his background gave him organizational chops to the scale he needs.
He is surrounded by Cerrato-level talent of his own choosing. He has taken big swings that miss the mark. He has yet to grasp that the White House is not a sole proprietorship. The job calls for organizational leadership. Governing means working through the executive agencies to lever the genuine expertise within their 22 million employees. Congress and the Courts, by design, are not under his wing.
Hog Heaven is a football blog. The appeal of sports is the human potential to grow when challenged. So we don’t dismiss Mr. Trump’s capacity to grow, if he wants to.
Daniel Snyder willfully refused to grow as an organizational leader. It took 15 years before he replaced GM Charley Casserly with another legitimate GM in Scot McCloughan. The Redskins are better off for it.
When Snyder screws up, he affects the joy of Redskins fans for seven days.
Donald Trump is President of the United States. When he screws up, it affects the safety and security of the world.
The sooner Trump lets go of his proprietor mentality, the better off he will be.