Saturday, November 18, 2017


A recent column in Chicago's Sun-Times reminded me of Polemarchus' challenge to Socrates in Plato's "Republic": "Could you persuade men who do not listen?" My conclusion: it's impossible today to persuade the women and men in leadership and on the Board of JFNA that transformational change is demanded -- not just needed, demanded -- to right the sinking ship of JFNA. Change cannot happen so long as Richard Sandler and his lay leadership team neither listen nor see.

Immediately after the demise of the New York Yankees to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series a few weeks ago, Yankees management began to examine whether to retain the team's highly successful manager, Joe Girardi, who had enjoyed a ten year tenure. While successful, Girardi had not led the Yankees to a World Championship since 2009 -- but, NB, he had led the Yankees to that one World Series win.

In discussing the evaluation that the lay leader of the Yankees would make in determining whether to bring Girardi back, Hal Steinbrenner observed:
"It's not money. It's performance, and I look from 10,000 feet and from the last two, three, four years. It is the same for all the employees."
How refreshing. A Board Chair (in this instance, the Managing General Partner) who will look at his CEO's (in this instance, his team's Manager's) performance. This is what's done in all of our businesses, what's done in all of the non-profits on whose Boards we sit. But this is exactly the measure that is not applied to the JFNA CEO; for if it were, if the Board Chair were to measure the CEO's performance, he would find nothing but failure writ large...nothing more.

Back at the World Series in Los Angeles, there was an illuminated sign board with a brief mandate: Leave a Mark. Wouldn't that be a great thing for the JFNA Board Chair and Board to do? Think they will? Other than a black mark that is.

So the question is as always: why does the JFNA Board, why do the leaders of our Federations, continue to abide a circumstance where there has been neither growth nor progress, neither vision nor express purpose -- year after year after year? A circumstance where 10s of millions have been wasted while the CEO has pocketed millions -- for what, exactly?

There are no satisfactory answers to these questions, no answers at all. There is no accountability anywhere within the JFNA organization. Compounding the lack of accountability is that it is/has been hidden behind a dark cloak of secrecy. Everything at JFNA is a secret and its lay leaders have made an implicit agreement never to question, never to object, never to shine a light on all that is hidden.

It's shameful. Pure and simple.


P.S. The Yankees fired Manager Joe Girardi even after a decade of success.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The current lay and professional leaders are leaving a mark already, a dark brown stain on what was once a brilliant history of achievement. If they had any shame, they would be ashamed but they obviously have none. I've never seen an organization that thrives on failure like this one: they glorify it.