An Open Letter to Sean McVay – If You Don’t Know Him You’ll Want To

Dear Sean,

Congratulations on the 6-0 start. I realize there is a long way to go in the season, not to mention the playoffs. But for long-time Rams fans like me, the transformation you’ve led is remarkable.



Millennials have a reputation for being hard-working, but a bit undisciplined. Your generation is apt to multi-task, rather than focus deeply, and resists rigid standards like timeliness and routines.  But you are bucking that stereotype. You hold yourself and your players to higher standards paying great attention to detail, and you hold fast to the routines that have produced success on the field. Those qualities, along with incredible success you’ve produced make you a role model for your generation — any generation — particularly business leaders in emerging innovative companies.

Have you thought about how the principles you’ve instilled in the Rams’ players would translate to managing a successful business team?

Yes, I know, sports these days is often called “a business.” And clearly, at the executive level, NFL franchises are run like any other business. But the game on the field is a business inside of that business and you clearly understand that. Decisions from “above” impact the players who fill your roster. You have to develop, coach, mentor, sometimes discipline and always encourage those players to achieve their highest potential, so that the team as a whole can do the same. Clearly, you have stars on the roster. Goff, Gurley, Donald, and others are NFL elites. But they were not winners before you got there Sean.  While they had tremendous raw talent, you’ve helped make them winners individually and, together, a formidable team on game day.  Leaders of entrepreneurial teams have to do the same things, creating a great team out of raw individual talent.

I’ve researched peak performance on entrepreneurial teams for some years now. It turns out that the most successful companies – those who traverse the gap between a startup with potential and a stable, profitable enterprise returning value to its’ investors and other stakeholders – have a successful partnership between a visionary founder and a trusted, capable co-founder. I call these co-founders “Execution Masters” and the best of them successfully translate the vision of the founder to the entire team. They also create and sustain a winning corporate culture throughout the organization.

This is what you’ve done with the Rams and in short order!  Could you teach it to entrepreneurs?  Let’s see…

One of your talents seems to be the ability to hire good people, then delegate power to them so they can be their best. With the delegation of power, you’ve required accountability, with a common goal at the coaching staff level of consistently putting each player in the best position to succeed. I’ve read about some of the ways you’ve done this with quarterback Jared Goff. By simplifying his “reads” of opposing defenses from play to play, you limited his range of decision-making responsibilities from play to play, empowering him to act from his strengths and avoid overthinking.  You delegate to him just enough range of decision-making to succeed, not too much, not too little.  You set him up to succeed.  Could entrepreneurs learn from this?  Let see…

Great Execution Masters in emerging companies do in fact what you’ve done, or should do it. Thousands could benefit from your example on setting high standards, establishing values (corporate culture), embedding them through the entire team (getting buy-in), giving decision-making power to others (trust) and putting each team member in the best position to win (effective management). When you are effective at these things, the Rams win games. Your mastery of execution impacts all levels of the organization and that spills out to all the people who cheer for the team, who work concessions at games, who clean and ready the stadium on game day, who promote their products on commercials during the games and on and on and on.  And by setting an example of Execution Mastery, you inspire business leaders. It is a positive ripple effect. The same is true when a business succeeds through effective leadership. All stakeholders win, from employees to investors, to customers, to other businesses and so on and so on.

You’re in a unique position as a very public very young leader enjoying massive success. People are listening to you, and not just millennials. Probably other teams are copying some of what you do, trying to get similar results. Why not consider sharing your blueprint for success with thousands of businesses as well?

I’d love to interview you, discuss how what you do translates directly to business success, particularly in the technology and innovation space. Would-be leaders of companies, young and older, would love to hear your thoughts about the values, practices, and disciplines that lead to rapid success by transforming corporate culture.  Would you consider sitting down with me, in order to impact business as well as sports?

You certainly don’t “need” to do any more than you’ve already done to deserve the high-esteem you’re now enjoying in the professional sports arena. But, wouldn’t it be cool to see your ideas being used to grow thousands of businesses around the world, dramatically increasing their chances of reaching the “Super Bowls” of business – IPO, Acquisition/Fortune 500 status?

It’s 4th and 1 at the goal line for a lot of promising companies out there. The world needs them to succeed. What play are we calling?

Key takeaways:

  • Sean McVay coaches the NFL-leading L.A. Rams
  • It’s McVay’s mastery that turned the team from losers to winners
  • This makes McVay a poster-child Execution Master
  • His standards, discipline and leadership style prove it
  • What can Execution Masters in business learn from him?
  • What can Vision Masters learn?