Wash Post Q: Women calling the plays?
Natalie Randolph has just been hired as the varsity football coach at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C., which may make her the only female head coach in the country. What will be the obstacles to her success and how should she try to overcome them? Can you imagine a day when a woman would be chosen to coach an NFL team? Or are some glass ceilings unbreakable?
A great friend of mine, Janet, shared the following story some time ago.
“I had just taken the role of CEO with a technology company and was in my first big meeting with the top salesmen, who had been with the company for many years.
This meeting was to clarify my vision, gain their insights and prepare to take the company to the next level of success. One of my top salesmen, Ken, took a stand, `This is not possible,` he said.
I`m going to give you five minutes, Ken. Go outside, clear your head, come back in and let me know where you are.
Ken left the room for five minutes. Upon his return I looked at him as if to signal `you on board?` `Janet, this plan isn`t going to work.`
Janet took a breath, pointed her finger at Ken and said, `You`re fired.`
With Janet`s leadership, vision, strong values, risk-taking and belief in her team, her sales force broke records that year.
Much the same as Janet, Natalie Randolph`s greatest obstacle will be resistance to change. There is always a plethora of great reasons things should remain as they are. That said, it takes only one strong vision and a dedicated leader to shift our awareness of what`s possible. Just ask Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama and so many others.
Not only can I imagine the day a woman will lead an NFL team to a Super Bowl championship, I can hear the glass shattering as we, as a nation, begin to refocus on what really matters…our ability to lead.
Offered with respect,
Misti Burmeister, Washington Post best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers