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  • Michael Kerman

Happy New Year, except...

Normally, the first blog of the year is filled with a delicious recap of 2019 or the optimistic forecasts and musings about 2020.

I have to start with a vent. I know it's not really cool to start of the new year this way, but I've got to share this.

Now that the football season is over, every team is re-assessing their coaches, staff and players to decide what changes need to be made. For many, this is a time of great uncertainty and the Philadelphia Eagles are no different. After an uninspiring performance in 2019, the coach indicated on January 8th that there will be changes, but his offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach will be back. Then, he fired them on January 9th!

Now, this is not unique to sports. I've seen employees be told they're doing a great job and to keep up the good work all while plans are being put in place to lay them off. I've seen executives be told how well a certain business unit or office is performing only to follow up with "and you need to put a plan in place to have this shut down in 30-60 days".

What I struggle with is "Why"? All of this seems very unnecessary and quite honestly, cruel and completely devoid of compassion and empathy. When asked about the status of the 2 coaches, couldn't the Eagles coach have said something innocuous like "we're using this time to re-asses everything from me to our coaches and staff to our players".

Clearly, he knew on January 8th these 2 coaches were going to be dismissed. Why go public with "they're staying" only to fire them 24 hours later. To me, that is just plain mean and as we know from Michael Brenner's awesome book, "Mean People Suck".

If you're about to fire or lay off an employee, do you have to go out of your way and build up their confidence and self-esteem by praising them only to have them crash-land when you let them go? Isn't that just heartless? You don't have to be mean or a jerk to be a successful coach or executive.

Looking ahead to 2020 (see, this is the optimistic part of the blog), I will do my best to bring a strong sense of compassion, patience, understanding and empathy to everything I do and everyone I encounter.

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