Leadership Lessons From Al Davis
Al Davis is the recently deceased owner of the Oakland Raiders NFL franchise. He was quite a polarizing figure; people loved him or hated him, the same with his Raiders, which under Davis were a highly successful football franchise that transformed the face of football and I say that from a business viewpoint. As my friends will tell you, I am definitely not a Raiders fan, in fact, no matter who they are playing I root for the other team but Al Davis did practice leadership. Let's look at some of his principles of leadership:
Take care of your people: I once met a former Raider who was down on his luck and was digging his way out of the bind. He told me that he owed everything to Coach Davis who helped pull him out of the mess. Al was loyal to this player even though it had been many years since the player played for Al and the player was loyal to Al.
Make decisions which are sound business decisions, not based on emotion: When Al received what he thought was a better business deal from the City of Los Angeles then what Oakland would give him, he moved the team to Los Angeles despite the thousands of fans emotional reaction. Did Al make the correct decision? That is irrelevant in this case. He made the decision based on business not on emotions.
When you make a decision, stick by it: When Davis decided to move The Raiders to Los Angeles, The City of Oakland and the NFL tried to prevent him from doing so. Al stuck by his decision and took them all to court and won.
If the situation isn't to your liking as a business person, walk away: Al Davis was the commissioner of the AFL when the AFL owners voted to merge with the NFL. Al believed that the AFL was superior to the NFL and did not agree with the merger. Al resigned as commissioner and built a legacy as the owner of the Raiders.
Just win baby That was his motto. He knew that winning was important and if one does not have a winning attitude he will never ever win. He fired Tom Cable as head coach of the Raiders after a.500 season for saying that for the first time he didn't feel like a loser..500 is not winning
Acknowledge your mistakes and move on: When the City of LA reneged on their promises that were made to The Raiders when they moved to LA, he backed up and moved the team back to Oakland without regrets.
Judge people by the content of their character and their results not by the color of their skins or appearances: Al Davis hired the first Hispanic head coach in the NFL (Tom Flores) and the first African American coach (Art Shell). This was before it was cool to hire Blacks or Hispanics to be head coaches. Al did not think that to be strange, he hired the best people for their jobs.