Figure out what’s wrong, enlist your people in the cause of fixing it, persuade them to take ownership, and never declare victory. That's the advice of D. Michael Abrashoff, author of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal bestseller It’s Your Ship, on how to turn around any organization.
The Atlanta Falcons hit rock bottom the day a tornado ripped off half of its stadium’s roof. By then, their charismatic quarterback, Michael Vick, was in prison for leading a dog-fighting ring. Their coach, Bobby Petrino, had defected in mid-season to college football. They’d won only four games in 2007, losing 12. They weren’t just defeated; they were demoralized, beaten, losers. It was up to their owner, Arthur Blank, cofounder of Home Depot, to turn this sorry situation around. And in one of the deftest performances I’ve ever heard of, he did. By the end of 2008, the Falcons had gone to the playoffs with an 11-5 record. Their new coach, Mike Smith, was NFL Coach of the Year. Their quarterback, Matt Ryan, was NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. “This is the season of miracles,” Blank said. But the miracles all traced to the careful moves he’d made....
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