Jerry Jones-The Flexibility Factor

Published on January 2, 2004

Jerry Jones, owner, president and GM of the Dallas Cowboys, is one of those people who you either lover or hate. There is no middle ground. The fans of Dallas despised him when he came to town on his high horse and quickly fired Tom Landry, the only coach the franchise has ever known. Yet, they came to love him when he brought in the hugely popular Jimmy Johnson to coach the team to a couple of Super Bowl victories. Then it all started to come apart at the seams. Johnson wanted more control and less interference from Jones, which Jones was not willing to do. For example, he is the general manager for the team participating in all meetings and making personnel decisions. You can even see him roving the sidelines.

After Johnson and Jones parted ways, Jerry Jones hired coaches who tolerated his meddling, but who also didn’t win. In the end, the franchise hit rock bottom and Jones had to bring in a turn-around artist who could swiftly right the ship.

Enter, Bill Parcells, a great turn-around artist with a long track of record of success who loses interest after he gets the job done. Parcells, also is a dominant personality who in the past sought complete control. Everyone asked themselves how long would it be before Parcells and Jones got into each others faces?

Jones knows that the foremost goal in business is winning. He knew that in order to win he had to get someone in who could do the job. While he does not meddle as much with Parcells as he did with other coaches, Jones and Parcells both decided to compromise and work with each other, accepting each other’s tendency to control things.

This year the partnership worked wonders. Parcells turned the Cowboys around and took them to the playoffs. Both admit they can’t guarantee that the relationship would be as successful if they had a losing season.

What we do know is Jones, as the ultimate leader of his organization, took the first step by being flexible in how he operated. He had a choice. Keep doing it the same way and getting the same results, or get someone who can do the job and stay out of the way as much as possible.

Some people may not have flexed as did Jerry Jones. Are you flexible in your approach to business and people? If not, you may not be winning as many championships as you would like.

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