Organizational Lessons from the… Browns?

I’ve been a Browns fan for 42 years. Sipe, Kosar, and Ozzie were all childhood heroes. I attended the John Elway “Drive” game and while it broke my heart, it only strengthened my bond with the Browns. I am an optimist – I think all Browns fans have to be optimiststhere’s a “next year will be our year” mentality that gives us hope and maybe even keeps us sane.

Last week, the Browns made a bold move when they announced Paul DePodesta would be their Chief Strategy Officer. Why so bold? DePodesta doesn’t bring front office expertise from another football team – his previous position was with the New York Mets, LA Dodgers, Oakland A’s, and Cleveland Indians (Go Tribe!)baseball teams, including one who appeared in the World Series last year. DePodesta is part of a “new breed” of sports executives started by the Moneyball era (which DePodesta should get full credit for) in baseball, making its way into basketball and perhaps, with this move, impacting football. The long and the short of this strategy is making decisions based on analytics rather than what your “lying eyes” may tell you.

DePodesta goes on to make a compelling case for his hiring. So wow – maybe we can learn something good, organizationally, from the Browns. DePodesta is being asked to look at the organization as a whole, not make decisions on which wide receiver will start against the Steelers. He explained the thinking behind this move in his press conference saying that “great organizations…do something that separates them from the competition. Usually that something is a process or set of systems that differentiates them.”

fast forward to 5:29 mark

I didn’t have a time machine, so I was not able to take DePodesta’s words to heart as I started Willory a little more than five years ago but do see definite parallels.

Willory has built its organization and had well-documented and awarded growth (Crain’s 52, NorthCoast 99, etc.) through a focus on these key factors: Talent, Operational Efficiency, Process/Structure, and Systems. We may not be competing on Sundays in front of 80,000 crazy, Dawg Pound fans, but we are helping our clients transform through talent, operations and HCM/payroll systems… and we did compete in the Akron Marathon.

What separates great organizations from the competition? Process, systems, talent and accountability. Whether it is our staffing team or our consulting team, we can help you with all four. In fact, recently the consulting team published some great resources related to process and systems available to you.

We’ll have to take a “wait and see” approach with the Browns – but you can’t afford to take that same tact with your business so, by all means, contact us so we can help.


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