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Posted: January 13, 2012

Greetings from Tebowland

In the eye of Typhoon Timmy

Chase LeBlanc

Unless you have been living in a cave or immersed in the opening of a new international property, you have heard about the polarizing and perplexing story of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Now, you may not follow the NFL or even like sports, but most anyone in our/any business can appreciate the turnaround of a brand name franchise and creating "fandemonium." I thought I'd pass along a quick note from the eye of the Timmy-Typhoon.

The NFL's Denver Broncos turnaround story (worst to first - in the same season - after years of irrelevance) is being written by many contributors. There have been clutch stops, picks, runs, throws, catches, kicks and fumble recoveries. As is almost always the case in a team sport, (read as your business) it takes a united team effort ("running on all cylinders - in the zone") to win.

As the early season losses mounted and the Bronco "brain-trust" was feeling as if there was nothing left to lose - they unleashed Tim Tebow. What was initially significant about this "strategic" move was that the seemingly 3rd string quarterback leapfrogged over the 2nd string quarterback to become the starter. It was the harbinger of many strange and wonderful (if you bleed orange and blue) things to come such as - downgrading the playbook to a High School level and trading last year's leading receiver and starting QB mid-season. Now, we have the incredibly fashioned string of wins, and a self described "higher-calling" individual playing his position in an unorthodox manner - a truly compelling drama for fans and non-fans of all persuasions.

I have no idea how many more rabbits will be pulled out of the hat by Tebow & Co, but up to this point, there are a few practical turnaround-takeaways and leadership affirmations worth sharing:

1. Attention leaders: it never hurts to have created a multitude of rabid fans in your last position.

2. Past behaviors/come-through-in-the-clutch-success - by an individual - should never be overlooked when attempting to predict future behaviors/come-through-in-the-clutch-success.

3. Great leadership is the dynamic influence/impact on others - and what you do & who you are (together) are more powerful than either alone.

4. A new way (read as a new right way) hardly ever comes from re-doing the same things, unless you dust off a playbook so old that everyone has forgotten how to defend it.

5. If you hope to be successful as a leader, you'll need to rely on more than yourself to pull it off.

6. If you wish to have a widely accepted & rapid leadership transition - "selfless" leadership (serving others, accepting personal responsibility.

for failures, spreading credit for accomplishments, humble in victory and defeat) lies in stark contrast to "selfish" leadership.

7. Talent, hard work, unity and faith (a potent team combination) - can create more than your fair share of luck - AKA culture & chemistry matter much more.

8. Just one "right" person - at the right time - can make all the difference in the world, but then... you knew that already...
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Chase LeBlanc is the originator of the term Leadagers™ (leed/i/jers) providing professional leadership training and development for frontline leaders + Manager Mechanic™ seminar series for “the tune-ups, upgrades, and supercharging of managers while your business is in motion,” and the Manager Jump School, intensive full-day workshops for those individuals slated to “jump-up” in their responsibility levels. 

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Erich – Thanks for the comments. Wow, you seem pretty “fired up” about my post. I make my living in the Hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, bars, foodservice - 2nd largest employer in the USA after the Gov’t) which includes one Anthony Bourdain of TV fame. Next to the “King of Snark” - I always considered my writing style almost “saintly.” Also for the record, having grown up in that industry, I can safely say (after more unique and rigorous testing than you could ever imagine), I have no bias. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with folks from all walks/beliefs, and am lucky enough to be in the position to champion many (on both personal and professional fronts) to ever-widening horizons. FYI - no jibes/jabs/jibz were intended, just descriptors and ones that I was most certainly not the first to use: polarizing (not to you maybe, but to many), perplexing (more 4th Q /OT wins than usual in one season), self-described higher calling (read his book), unorthodox (larger, stronger, different wind up than most starting QB’s) rabbit-pulling (miraculous still belongs to the 1980 USA Hockey team) rabid fans and Typhoon Timmy (just voted the most popular athlete in the USA after just 1 “full” season – is that not a storm? Plus, you know that if I said “Hurricane Timmy,” I’d get the Gator fans in an uproar. Erich, I’m not purporting to speak about the business benefit Mr. Tebow brought to Denver. I’m highlighting the turnaround situation takeaways and leadership craft his rise has affirmed but, you seemed to have missed that. To all - I was born here and have been a Bronco fan for over 50 years. I wish Tebow & Co nothing but positive harmony with their Fortune, Faith and Fate for all the years ahead. By Chase LeBlanc on 2012 01 13
"Pot meet kettle?" No, I'm not negative...but was really put off with your unnecessarily negative reading of this article. You just so completely missed the mark on this one, and were putting words in the author's mouth that he didn't even elude to....hard to understand where you're coming from. Perhaps just a bad day? Maybe just go meditate, enjoy nature, pray to reduce your negativity and need to needlessly attack and criticize good people. By Kristiine Mills on 2012 01 13
Needlessly negative? Pot, meet kettle. You may wish to apply the negativity meter to your own comments. Although in your defense, this IS a forum that encourages comments and that may include those from folks who do not agree with the author or the others who comment. If you don't want to see anything negative, you may wish not to read comments other readers . . . or at least not presume to judge them. I'm also unsure of "what's wrong with people these days". By Sandy Martin on 2012 01 13
Wow...the two previous comments are disturbing and wrongly, needlessly negative. It's hard to really understand what is wrong with people like this these days. There is not an iota of "irreligious bias" in this posting. The author of the initial comment is an angry person -- lack of business vocabulary? Nonsense! Can you say "chip on your shoulder"? This article by Chase is very respectful of Tebow who has, in fact, been a polarizing force of late. Unfortunately, the atheist movement is in full-swing bashing Tebow. Chase is not a part of that; there isn't even an inkling of indication that he's a part of that! There are lots of people to be upset about as they have bashed Tebow and his faith recently, but you are taking it out on the wrong person. Chase clearly respects Tebow and believes that there is much to be learned from him. Nice job, Chase, and nice job ColoradoBiz for publishing an article that I can and will share with my direct reports and team. Obviously, anyone who doesn't see that this piece was an homage to Tebow has greater issues other than a distinct lack of business and leadereship acumen.Nowhere here does it suggest that Tebow latched onto his faith as a ploy. Come on, people...get it together and keep your nastiness to yourself because you've missed the boat on this one altogether if you find it disrespectful. By Kristine Mills on 2012 01 13
I didn't see it as a negative article, I think it was just trying to be glib and didn't quite work. The non-adjective part is still accurate. By David on 2012 01 13
I too am disappointed in the position this article takes. While some of your points bear consideration and even implementation, they might be less difficult to embrace if not awash in negativity about Tebow and the Broncos. Like every company, the Broncos organization has made changes that may have baffled those outside the decision-making process. And, perhaps they weren't such deplorable choices given where the Broncos are today. Do you think that Tim Tebow "latched onto" his apparent faith as a media ploy? I believe it's his faith is genuine and welcome his ability to express it without reservation. Go Broncos! p.s. besides bashing this article, I would be interested in knowing how you compare and contrast selfish vs. selfless leaders, provided the information doesn't stretch to relate itself to a current media buzz. By Sandy Martin on 2012 01 13
How about including respect in your article! From overt "Typhoon Timmy" to all of the less than subtle jibes: polarizing, perplexing, self-described higher calling, unorthodox, rabbit pulling and rabid fans. Is this your irreligious bias, inflammatory writing style or just a lack of business vocabulary? For an article purporting to speak about the business benefit that Tim Tebow has brought to Denver, it falls short with all of these barbs based in disrespect. As a regular ColoradoBiz reader I had expected better. I hope that future articles will include a healthy dose of respect. By Erich Hardy on 2012 01 13

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