In a year where change was the focus on a day-to-day basis inside Raiders organization, the team’s hire of analyst Mike Mayock as its new general manager show a bold leadership style which values boldness and action.
When news started to break on Sunday about the Raiders interviewing NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock for its vacant general manager position, it didn’t come as a major surprise to many. After all, the new captain on the USS Silver and Black – Jon Gruden – has been changing the organization from the inside out since the day he walked in. From the trade of generational talent, Khalil Mack to mid-season roster changes and adjustments, Gruden’s leadership style values action and decisiveness and that makes most people uncomfortable.
Yet it’s also refreshing and mimics the style of great corporate leaders to great statesmen and military leaders like George S. Patton and Winston Churchill.
Make no bones about it: Gruden is not just rebuilding a team or turning over a roster, he’s leading boldly.
In a league built around incestuous hiring and recycled hiring in the coaching and front office ranks, it’s refreshing to see the Raiders go a different way.
The hiring of Mayock makes sense on so many levels, despite his lack of NFL front office experience. Mayock is one of the most respected evaluators of talent out there and clearly has the trust and respect of his former television colleague in Gruden. Much will be bantered about related to where Mayock has been right or wrong on his talent evaluation over the years, but it’s all noise. You can find strengths and weaknesses with all candidates no matter how deep the record or experience. Some in Raider Nation would criticize any hire with impunity and vigor. That’s what decades of losing can do to a fanbase.
There are opinions already fixed about Gruden and the Raiders failing after less than a year into this rebuild. This may or may not have any impact on those opinions. Yet on a day dubbed “Black Monday,” when coaches of teams who underperformed are fired, the Raiders make a bold move and statement. In a league built around incestuous hiring and recycled hiring in the coaching and front office ranks, it’s refreshing to see the Raiders go a different way. The NFL “deep state” won’t be a fan despite Mayock’s universal popularity amongst his colleagues and in the NFL.
Exchanging messages with former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi this morning, he told me Mayock can scout with the best of them and that in this new non-traditional GM role, he can do well. He also pointed out its a positive sign Gruden knows he needs help if he’s going to coach the team and lead its roster development. (Note: Lombardi will join us on our CBS Sports Radio 1140-AM show to discuss the hire this Sunday.)
Happy for Mike Mayock, he will do a great job for the Raiders.
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) December 31, 2018
Winston Churchill, one of my favorite leaders in history, said: “To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” Gruden and the Raiders have adopted this moniker in spades this season. Again, success is never guaranteed no matter how talented, smart, organized or strategic you are. There is inherent risk in every decision you make. You cannot make them based on the peanut gallery, public sentiment, or based on what others are doing.
General George S. Patton, another great leader from World War II, captured what I believe to be the Raiders new organizational approach to figuring this all out. Patton said: “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week. – General George S. Patton
There’s no question Gruden and the Raiders are “violently executing” their plan now. Not unlike their current neighbors to the south in the Silicon Valley, Gruden and the organization have adopted the “ship it now” philosophy – get it to market and don’t worry about perfection. Go bold or go home. Innovate or die.
Mayock’s arrival on the scene for the Raiders is a football version of “innovate or die.” The signs point to it being a successful marriage for the top-notch talent evaluator.
There’s no questioning the boldness of the move. The determination if it’s a successful move will only be judged by the sands of time.