Editor’s Note: Black Monday musings

January 12, 2016 -  By

palmieriWe’re wrapping up this issue of LM on the NFL’s Black Monday, so my mind’s on the Cleveland Browns.

At the risk of losing you before I get too far into this column, I’d like to share how editing this issue has me thinking about my hometown’s beleaguered football team.

So, in the style of The Plain Dealer sportswriter Terry Pluto, I’m sharing scribbles from my notebook about this month’s LM and the Cleveland Browns—their personnel problems, in particular.

  1. The Browns are back to square one after axing coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer. Square one is pretty much where the team has been since football returned to Cleveland in 1999. There was an interesting comment on sports talk radio this morning about the Browns’ top jobs that made me think about our cover story on account managers and our advisory board’s thoughts about hiring and keeping them. The radio show’s guest said, and I’m paraphrasing here: “It’s not about the money. It has to be a job somebody would want to have.”I’ve heard the account manager job called one of the toughest in the industry. Advisory board member Phil Harwood says that’s the case only because the role is often not well defined by ownership and tends to be dumping ground for miscellaneous tasks. To the radio show guest’s point, no one wants a job like that, no matter how much you pay him or her.
  2. With drafts, contracts and salary caps, fielding a pro football team obviously doesn’t correlate exactly to hiring and retention in the landscape industry. But any organization is defined by its people. As LM columnist Mel Kleiman says, “The best way to improve employee retention is to hire right in the first place … Don’t hire anyone who doesn’t meet your standards.” Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel may be the definition of not meeting standards. It’s not a huge surprise that he’s having off-the-field problems, considering his party boy record in college and beyond. But it is disappointing that he’s failed to show up for work repeatedly and has made other missteps, despite apologizing to his teammates and fans on multiple occasions. Having to work alongside people who don’t live up to the organization’s standards is demoralizing to its A players and could eventually drive them away.
  3. To that point, Browns nine-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas alluded to potentially wanting off the team he’s steadfastly supported since he was drafted in 2007. Losing Thomas, a locker room leader and the longest tenured player on the team, would be a blow to any roster, but especially to the sparsely talented Browns. After reading the news about Thomas, I thought of Kleiman’s column again. We all know that losing isn’t fun. He says, “When you make your workplace fun, your great folks won’t leave, and you’ll have applicants lined up around the block.”

For the Browns, there’s always next year, as we say in Cleveland. But if your company’s having people problems, there’s no time like the present to straighten things out.

Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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