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The Packer Way

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The Packer Way

Nine Stepping Stones to Building a Winning Organization

St. Martin’s Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Business wisdom from the GM of the Green Bay Packers: Improve your organization in increments, and never skip on you coaches and quarterback.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
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Sport is an overused metaphor for business, but Ron Wolf, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the U.S. National Football League’s Green Bay Packers, surpasses the majority of management experts with his common-sense organizational wisdom. Recounting his turnaround of a languishing football franchise into a Super Bowl winner, Wolf (along with co-author Paul Attner) shows how he used the very principals he illustrates with his compelling sports analogies. While your organization may not compete on a stage as public as the NFL, you can use the same strategies. If these tactics can help the small-market Packers compete with teams from Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, they can certainly help your firm compete as well. getAbstract especially recommends Wolf’s "stepping stone" strategy of incremental improvement, which seems to us the equivalent of building a solid running game while your opponents lob Hail Marys.


Determine What Needs to Be Fixed

When the Green Bay Packers hired me in 1991, my football friends told me I was going to the pro football graveyard. The team finished the season 4-12. In 19 of the 24 years since Green Bay’s 1967 championship under coach Vince Lombardi, the team finished below .500.

We headed the Packers toward the top with a strategy I recommend for your business. Do nothing. Well, nothing but talking, watching and analyzing. I wanted to create a carefully conceived plan that would turn the Packers into champions. To make things right for your business, step back and get an overview of the entire situation. Before you devise any solutions, determine what needs to be fixed. Once you are comfortable with your study and you have an understanding of the people involved, then take your next steps.

I studied the Packers on two levels. Obviously, I had to evaluate the players and the coaching talent. But it was just as important to analyze the support staff and scouting operation. I was looking for the leadership that already existed in the organization. I wanted to get a feel for the work ethic and attitude of players and staff. If you want to improve...

About the Authors

Ron Michael Wolf  is the executive vice president and general manager of the Green Bay Packers. He was named NFL Executive of the Year by The Sporting News in 1992. He has been involved in the NFL for more than 30 years. Paul Attner is a senior writer for The Sporting News . He is the author of Redskin Country (with Ken Dilinger), The Fat Lady Sings and The Terrapins.

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