Darren Woodson’s – 4 C’s of Employee Attitudes

By John Hefner

If the first thing you notice is that the by-line doesn’t say Russ Ward, Congratulations, you are very observant!  Due to circumstances beyond our control, Russ didn’t get to go to the World of Modular in Fabulous Las Vegas so I am the guest writer! (also, I like exclamation points!)

Winner Winner!

Darren Woodson was the first of two guest speakers and although not a modular builder himself, he talked about winning at life.  Now what, pray tell, would someone named Darren Woodson know about winning in life?  He entered the National Football League in 1992 as a safety for a minor NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, who then went on to win three Superbowls in four years.  During his speech, he handed the rings from said Superbowls to a Redskins fan so he would know what being a winner felt like. (Sorry Redskins fans; I had to go there).

One important point he talked about was a change in your environment and how people reacted to it.  He related the story of how, when Jerry Jones took over as owner of the Cowboys, he fired longtime coach and legend, Tom Landry.  Even though Tom Landry had coached some fine players in his day, he had started to fall off in the early 80s.  Jerry Jones brought in a college coach named Jimmy Johnson,  who immediately instituted team workouts during the off season so they could hit training camp with a vengeance.  Over 70 percent of the players went home because that was the way Landry had always done it.  When they came back, the players that went home overwhelmingly couldn’t do the harder training regiment that Johnson had instituted.  Johnson sent them home or traded them as contracts dictated.  His first year coaching-1989- was an abysmal year and they howled for Johnson’s blood and/or resignation.  But as training and buy-in to Johnson’s program increased, they won more games.  Woodson noted that in 1992, four years after Jimmy took over, they went to a Superbowl (also that he was a rookie in that year for Dallas, but no connection…).  Jimmy Johnson would win another one the next year, one of six coaches ever to win back-to-back Superbowls.

The C’s!

Darren Woodson attributed Johnson’s success to management of his people and recognized four catagories of attitudes, not just on the football field, but in the workplace.  He called this Darren’s Four C’s of Employee Types:

  1. Content – This is the guy that shows up to an 8:00 meeting at 8:05 wearing headphones.  He’s most likely doing this job until he finds something better and doesn’t engage with anyone about work.  Most likely, content employees are the first ones out the door at night.
  2. Compliant – This employee has no ambition beyond doing the job they have in front of them, but they show up for an 8:00 meeting at 8:00.  They will work their time, but only their time.  These employees don’t engage with other employees outside of work in a volunteer or marketing opportunity.  They are working to get their paycheck.
  3. Committed – These are the employees that come in and are fantastic at their job, but it is all about “their” job.  He compared this mindset to Neon Deon himself, who even when Dallas lost, would tell everyone how it wasn’t on him; he did his job.  Woodson talked about how there is no care whether the business profits or gets run into the ground; all these employees care about is hitting some external or internal goal they have set for themselves.
  4. Compelled – This is a star employee.  They not only set high goals for themselves but challenge others to do the same, pushing them to be the best they can be.  At work, they are the first ones in the door and the last to leave.  He reminisced about Michael Irvin, who tried to make Woodson look bad in practice all day, going full tilt, juking and stiff arming.  Irvin pulled him aside afterwards and reminded him that there are Jerry Rice’s in the world who aren’t going to take it easy on you, either.  Irvin felt he owed it to Woodson to prepare him for Hall of Fame talent when it wasn’t practice
Great Advice For Those That Will Listen

His advice for these first two C’s:  Get rid of them!!!  Woodson specifically called them a virus that will infect other workers if given a chance.  If left alone and unchallenged, your whole workplace will become like this.  He recommended bringing them in, talking about their goals, and challenging them to want more; but, if they won’t change, part ways.

For the committed, he recommended pairing them with other like-minded employees, so for them to succeed, someone else, usually their rival, has to succeed.  The goal is to turn them into compelled employees as well and ultimately drive other employees to follow their leadership.

One of the other big statements Woodson made was about how the greatest thing Jerry Jones did in that first year was realizing he needed to bring someone in who not only knew the game of football but was doing it differently than traditionally thought.  He realized if you want extraordinary results, you have to bring in someone who doesn’t do it “like Dad did it”.  You have to stand out if you want to be noticed.

In 1995, three guys invented the way to ship an almost completed elevator in response to new regulations on handicap access.  In 2009, Phoenix Modular Elevator realized that these same elevators could be in new construction as well by bucking conventional thinking and delivering a hydraulic elevator to the jobsite eight weeks after approvals.

Give us a call at 618-244-2314 if you want to do your next job with excellence and are tired of getting the same old results.

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