Tim & I, Part II

13 May

By season’s end, Tim had accomplished what very few QB’s in the history of the NFL had ever done. He led a team that began the season 1-4 to the post season. That only gave him a shot to go up against the best defense in the 2012 playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team would surely reveal Tim as the fraud that all of his haters knew he was from the day he was drafted right? Of course not. Tim led the Broncos to an incredible overtime win that was probably the most exciting game of the 2012 playoffs.

What was his reward for the greatest non Super Bowl winning season in the history of the franchise?  A promise was made from the GM for Tim to be the starter on opening day next season for the Broncos. By now we all know that the promise was not kept and Tim was traded to the Jets in order to make room for another future HOF quarterback named Peyton. Peyton is recovering from 4 neck surgeries so the jury is out on whether he will be able to compete and complete games for the Broncos next season. Tim’s fans think, I mean they know, he got a raw deal from the Broncos. But Tim, being the faithful good guy that he is, took the trade in stride and is now happy to be in NYC as a New York Jets’ backup QB.

Funny how the same experts who hated Tim Tebow as the starter in Denver expect him to become the starter in New York. They have gone on record as saying he will kill the Jets’ locker room and stab the current starter, Mark Sanchez, in the back and take his job. Nonsense. Tim Tebow will improve his game and be ready for when his name is called to go in the game and get a W for his team. All he has ever wanted to do from what I’ve seen is help his team win.

Okay, so why did I take you down this “current event” memory lane? Because the parallels between sports and life are sometimes just remarkable. I have seen scenarios like Tim’s play out on TV as well as in real life and usually without a happy ending. Who can forget the Seinfeld episode where Elaine decides to get rid of an unwanted employee by promoting him to an executive position with the firm? The results were predictable in that she pissed off current employees that were more deserving and she got stuck with an incapable employee in a critical position. Her plan was to promote the employee into a job he couldn’t do and hope that he would resign in his frustration. If he didn’t quit soon enough she could fire him for poor performance. Best laid plans seldom work out that way when your intent is a foul smelling outcome. Isn’t that what the Broncos were banking on?

That reminds me of a story about an executive that worked at financial services firm years ago. Of course he started out as just an associate right out of college and the management team didn’t believe he would be successful long term. After all, he was a minority from a working class section of the city and didn’t know many people with money. The firm he worked for on the other hand was quite successful luring affluent clients from all over the metropolitan area for two and a half decades. He was fortunate to at least have a manager who believed in him while the manager’s peers assured the manager that his newest recruit would be out in less than six months.

As time passed this associate began to build a sizable practice and was eventually asked to join the ranks of the management team. He was honored that the same team that had bet against him was now inviting him to join the club. And why not, he was told when he was being recruited that if he worked real hard he could earn six figures in five years time. Well, this particular associate decided to get to that milestone in four years instead which attracted the attention of the executive suite.

Most new management trainees are mentored by the manager who hired them. As luck would have it, this associate’s manager left the company for a competing firm after being passed over for a promotion for the final time. Most expected the new manager trainee to fade from the managerial track but he kept pressing even though he had the built in reason to quit. After all, his biggest fan and mentor was now working for a competing firm. He decided that he was going to fill the shoes of his departed manager so he doubled his efforts.

A short time later history was made when he became the first African American associate to reach the lofty rank of Executive Vice President. This history thing was becoming familiar territory as just one year prior he was the first of his kind to shatter the six figure ceiling at his office. Things were definitely looking grand for this young executive’s future with this international firm.

After only two and a half years into his managerial career, the executive was offered the opportunity to lead an entire office in a major metropolitan city. The normal tenure was five to seven years before an office in a major city was even a consideration for someone with his track record. Again, the young executive was honored to be offered such a prestigious position so soon into his managerial career. He had done well with growing his group but his results were by no means off the charts.

What he did know was that he was the top African American manager at his level in the company. With that ranking he was strongly advised that he needed to step up to that next level as the managers below him were all watching. His decline of the promotion could mean fewer opportunities for those like him around the country and that was made clear to him during his meeting at headquarters. An offer was made but not accepted for several days. The executive was now on the move but he had no clue as to what he had gotten himself into.

Less than a year into his new position, the executive made a startling discovery. The firm that he loved working for since he had graduated college had been sued for racial discrimination. Worst yet it was for discriminating against African Americans. His dream job had now become a nightmare in very short order. What would he do? He just moved his family into their new home and everyone was getting used to their new relocated lives. Who would he tell?

The executive soon got over the blow of the lawsuit and adjusted to the new procedures for bringing on African American associates according to the judge’s Consent Decree (a ruling that would hang over the company for nearly a decade).

As time went on the executive would relocate yet again for an even bigger and better opportunity with an office in the firm’s western division. Today the executive is no longer with the firm. He would later learn that his promotion was part of a plot to aide in the company’s discrimination lawsuit. No one expected him to excel in the role. They just wanted to show the judge that they offered an African American a great role in the company. He would fail as expected and the firm would look like the good guys. It just wasn’t their fault that minorities couldn’t cut it at the executive level of their firm. Sound familiar?

This executive’s firm would not be the first to employ a strategy that gives a promotion to someone that they believe isn’t ready for the role. In short order the hope is that the employee will resign or get poor performance evaluations and get fired. Every now and again the employee steps up and performs at a Tebowesque level but that sadly is the exception and not the rule. That makes this strategy a good one when an employer wants to remove an employee of a particular minority class.

Many current and former black QB’s were upset that Tim Tebow was given the opportunity to start for Denver so young in his career but what they missed was that Tim was not set up for success but instead set up to fail. Fortunately for Tim he saw the chess game unfolding in front of his eyes and made the most of his circumstance. How many people could see that they were being set up to fall and perform at a winning level? Tim was able to do it and so was that financial services executive but believe me they are the exception and not the rule.

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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Business, Life, Sports


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