How Would John Harbaugh's Personnel Decisions Go Over in Corporate America?

What if John Harbaugh worked for you? Well, unless you work in the front office of the Baltimore Ravens and are currently reading this post — he doesn’t. But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that you are Ozzie Newsome.

While the Baltimore Ravens are an escape for most residents in Baltimore, they’re also a billion dollar business. Besides smoking cigars at his office while counting his billions, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti looks at this franchise as a business and has done a marvelous job appointing people to run his company.

While still in shock of what may very well have been the worst week of Ravens history, I removed myself from the knee jerk reactions for a few moments and went back to my normal sales job. As I dealt with my own management team barking orders at me, it got me thinking.

Are the Ravens and John Harbaugh exempt from the same business decisions as those in corporate America?

What if John Harbaugh and the Ravens coaching staff worked for you? For this analogy, let’s look at it from the viewpoint of corporate America. Even if you’re not in sales, this analogy could probably relate to most any job.

For any corporation to turn a profit, they must increase revenue over that of their expenses. So for this corporation (Baltimore Ravens), turning a profit will depend on the strength of the Director of Sales (Head Coach),from whom the company’s message is then passed down to the management team (Coordinators) and then communicated to the sales team (Ravens Players).

The Director of Sales is hired by upper management (Ozzie Newsome) based on the confidence that they put your organization in the best hands to achieve their goal (Super Bowl). It is up to that Director of Sales to hire staff that he/she sees best qualified to make them successful. Ultimately, the Director of Sales’ (John Harbaugh) name is attached to the success or failure of the organization.

As in any company, if you don’t perform to your expectations, you are warned and reprimanded. For the Ravens, if their players aren’t performing to expectations, it’s up to their managers (Coordinators) to bench them or eventually make a decision to fire (release) them.

From a management perspective, it’s up to the manager (coordinator) to determine the group of salesmen (players) who will impact revenue (wins/success) as much as possible. It’s also the management’s (Coordinators) duty to train sales staff (players) on the marketplace (NFL Opponents) and what advantages you have (game plan) on the competition.

If specific managers (Cam Cameron or Jerry Rosberg) don’t create enough of an impact on their employees (Offense or Special Teams), they are to be held accountable for their misfortunes by their manager, the Director of Sales (John Harbaugh).

In any organization there is turnover. Some of it happens to be voluntary to leave for better opportunities. The Ravens got a taste of that when Chuck Pagano was hired as the new Director of Sales (Head Coach) of the Indianapolis Colts. If someone on your staff has performed above expectations, they are able to be promoted from within the company, which is what the Ravens did when they appointed Dean Pees as the new Defensive Coordinator.

The Baltimore Ravens are a contracted sales force. The main issue I have is that a thorough evaluation needs to take place to on the progress and development of their staff before a coordinator has their contract renewed.

For John Harbaugh to say that Cam Cameron would be retained is a foregone conclusion when Cam himself wasn’t even sure if he’d be retained is ludicrous.

This delusional Director of Sales said that his manager helped his sales team “flourish” in 2011. The four years Cam has been at the helm of the Ravens offense, the team has finished 18th, 13th, 22nd and 15th overall respectively. I don’t know what type of person gets to the position of Director of Sales accepting mediocrity. Last time I checked, 15th is middle of the road as far as total NFL rankings go.

With all this being said, for Harbaugh to say, “I don’t know that an announcement is necessary” after all the criticism from the media, fans, and his own players is just asinine and, to be honest, condescending and insulting.

If Billy Cundiff gets invited back to training camp after his atrocious season and has to kick for his job then Cam Cameron should be held to the same standards with his.

Anyone who’s ever been a part of a large company knows the “Crap Flows Downstream” motif. Sadly for the Ravens, it looks like horrific staff decisions are flowing downstream and it’s affecting on field production.

The team has already said that in retaining Cameron, a quarterbacks coach must be hired as well. Today, the Ravens announced that former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell will the team’s new Quarterbacks coach. Caldwell will report to Cameron.

Hiring Caldwell into the Ravens organization is equivalent to a motivational speaker in the corporate world. It may temporarily have an impact on the employees but for the most part it’s a temporary fix. All that Caldwell will do is keep some people off of Cameron’s back this offseason as the team prepares for anther mediocre performance on offense.

Cameron has shown he doesn’t respect the thoughts of anyone else on the offense (see: Jim Zorn) and Caldwell won’t come in and change around Cameron’s play book of Pop Warner passing routes.

In real life, some horrible managers may still win awards because they’re bailed out by great performances from talented employees; this could be said about Cameron ‘s tenure in Baltimore.

For the Director of Sales (Harbaugh) to retain a manager (Cameron) who’s never had a top 10 sales team (Offense) shows a problem with accountability at one of the highest levels of the organization. The fact that Harbaugh has turned a blind eye to those areas that have really struggled (Offensive Line, Special Teams and Offensive Coordinator) he may have created a hot seat for himself.

Ultimately, any business owner or upper management figure lives and dies by the performance of those he employs. If Harbaugh stays status quo or worse, there is a good chance that the customers of this corporation will react with their wallets, thus forcing  1 Winning Drive to have a makeover. If that happens, there could very well be a banner that says “Under New Management” within the next two seasons.


5 Responses to “How Would John Harbaugh's Personnel Decisions Go Over in Corporate America?”

  1. Alex G Says:

    Well written; great analogy. I’m a huge Ravens fan and I agree they need to take responsibility for what happened get rid of Cameron and Cundiff and try again next year.

  2. sprizzle Says:

    I wouldn’t say that Harbaugh is director of sales. Perhaps head of operations or production. The best sales team in the world can’t sell if the product is crap.

  3. Jon Says:

    Interesting that Haurbaugh takes the Ravens to 4 straight playoff births, comes off his best season, and people are talking about him being on the “hot-seat” because he still has Cam.

    I think Cam is an decent coordinator and understand why he was brought back. I think people still need to realize that majority of the talent is on the defensive side of the ball. Cam had a rookie WR, 2 young TEs, a patchwork offensive line, and meanwhile the Ravens cut their 2 best receivers in Ravens history. All this and the offense actually improved from last year with Ray Rice leading the NFL with yards from scrimmage.

    Yes, I know some of his play calling is questionable but it ultimately comes down to his players executing. We questioned Mattison’s play calling but he always finished with a top 10 defense because the defense had talent and executed the plays. And speaking of defense, we have had many defensive coaches get plucked here. Were all of them that great of coaches or did the defense have that much talent? It seems that we can put any DC in there and get a top 10 defense.

    Bill Belichick, a defense coach, had the 31st defense this year. Is anyone saying he is on the “hot-seat” because of that or do people think he had absolutely no talent on defense outside of Willfork?

    I think it comes down to talent. Ravens had had several OCs and DCs over the years but the results have been mainly the same because of the talent they get and the way they build the team.

  4. Napoleon Blownapart Says:

    Jon I get what you’re driving at, but there’s a problem with your Belichick example – he’s in the Super Bowl. To put it back in terms of the Sales analogy, no one gives a shit about how Bill does it because he’s hitting his quota.

    An accurate if not bland take. I would take issue with the notion of Jim Caldwell as a motivational speaker – nothing motivational about him. He’s more like a micro-manager/mentor after a poor pefromance review (NOT THAT I”D KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT *nervous laugh*)

  5. Thomas Crowley Says:

    I’m glad the front office doesn’t suscribe to the idiotic theory, that all the offense problems are cam’s fault. Most cam abshers don’t think rationally. They would anyone else even if he really isn’t better then cam.

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