“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”
– Bill Clinton
“Read my lips, no new taxes”
– George H.W. Bush
“I am not a crook”
– Richard Nixon
One of these things is not like the other…
Although it’s easy to spot the difference in leadership between Ghandi’s quote and the someday-to-be-revealed mistruths of the U.S. Presidents that followed, his quote is also revealing about the troubles with the lies behind all the others. What those gents were saying and doing and thinking were not all necessarily “in harmony” when the words came out of their mouths. In fact, what they were doing was pretty severely misaligned with what they were saying, and we won’t really even get into the thinking part behind any of them.
Once you’re that far out of alignment, it gets pretty tough for the people you’re meant to be leading, in terms of giving back their trust, faith, and support.
It reminds me of watching the leaders of Colorado’s major sports teams, and by leaders I mean ownership, trying to walk the walk and talk the talk of leading these multi-billion dollar enterprises. Saying, doing, and acting in ways that not only energize the organizations, but also the fanbases around them.
Are they all succeeding? Decidedly not. But are they all doing something right in the bargain? That’s for you to decide. Are the owners of Colorado’s big four aligned in the things they think, say, and do? Hmmmm…
Denver Broncos – Greg Penner, Walton-Penner ownership group
This was the group that had me thinking about ownership in Colorado in the first place after what seemed an interminable amount of time in making their new head coaching selection. In watching the twitterverse, I was not alone in my angst about how the process had played out. It seemed an unnecessary and lengthy process, in which the team had either boxed themselves out of all of their main candidates, or had really only planned on one all along.
While it turns out the Broncos ended up getting their guy in Sean Payton, they also mortgaged what little they had left in their near-term coffers in terms of draft picks after trading away the farm to get Russell Wilson last season. While ownership’s pockets are deep, they still have to operate within the confines of the NFL’s structure, and have given themselves little wiggle room for things to go wrong.
CEO Penner has a sizable group to answer to, but also backing him, as the richest ownership group in sports. While their early decisions have backed them into a bit of a corner, they have also shown they are willing to take big swings to get this right, intimating that while they may need some time to learn the ropes, they’ll keep taking those deep-pocket chances until they build a model that succeeds. While this approach can take some time, the dollar signs tend to eventually obviate the early learning curve. Think along the lines of an owner such as Jacksonville’s Shahid Kahn, who is finally putting the pieces together after several years of stumbles.
It may be a painful beginning, but all signs still point to ownership’s money being where it’s mouth is over the long term, our long-term measure of success here.
Denver Nuggets/Colorado Avalanche – Stan and Josh Kroenke
WalMart money runs deep amongst Colorado ownership with father Stan and son Josh being a part of one of the world’s wealthiest families. While their pocketbook may not run quite so deep as the Broncos’ ownership, it is plenty able to handle the needs of the lil’ ole Avs and Nuggets, being a part of an owner and ownership group that owns championship teams as far and wide as Colorado, Los Angeles, and the English Premiere League (Arsenal). As the Kroenkes also own the Colorado Rapids, the Nuggets may be their only property to have not won a championship, something the current squad is hoping to correct soon.
So while their checkbook may not seem quite as open as their familial cross-city counterparts, they seem to have developed a knack for building teams that win, with Stan stepping away from primary decision-making duties for most of his properties. While son Josh took some early mocking for being merely a mouthpiece to his father’s wishes, he has instead proven an able and willing governor who oversees two of his leagues’ most respected programs. Further, both teams seem to be built for success over the long haul, in contradiction to some of the near-term sacrifices made for a championship by another Kroenke property, the Los Angeles Rams.
While the larger operation seems to pick some odd fights here and there (hello, regional television coverage), they also seem to find thoughtful and creative ways to field championship-caliber teams year over year. Not much more a local sports fan could ask for from an ownership, and let’s hope they can keep it up for years to come.
While no one is always successful in that chase, the Avs/Nuggets ownership team seem to say what they think, and do what they say, and may be as “in alignment” as any of the Colorado ownership groups these days.
Colorado Rockies – Dick Monfort, Charlie Monfort
Sadly at a different end of the spectrum are Rockies CEO Dick Monfort and the Monfort family group that own the purple and black. Having just completed their 25th season as owners of the team, not much has progressed or gone better during their time at the helm. Where that leaves them?
Well, as the spokesman for the group, Dick has spent more time this offseason commenting about how much his competition is spending as he is speaking in generalities about why this year will be better than last. And while neither of those offer many specifics about how those improvements will come, the team makes some minor changes around the edges of the guys on the field. Happily, DNVR’s Patrick Lyons was able to sit in on Monfort’s biggest conversation of the year thus far with fans and media alike, which sadly didn’t offer much more clarity as to how this upcoming season’s Rox will actually improve.
This is the ownership group that most needs to get it’s thoughts/words/actions all in a row for a smaller-but-still-rabid fanbase, and give them something concrete to hold onto. The trouble with a fifth season of platitudes to your fanbase starts to take away that trust and make them lean solely into how your deeds are aligning with the rest. Maybe if the Rockies ownership can get everyone a little better in line with what they are actually thinking, then maybe what they are doing will end up making a bit more sense.
But what do I know, turns out even Ghandi didn’t always and forever walk his walk. But it sure was a pretty quote. Here’s hoping that at least your weekend is filled with a lot of alignment and harmony, DNVR Nation. I’m suddenly feeling very aligned with a cheeseburger. How do Colorado’s different ownership groups feel in terms of their alignment? One of these things is not like the other.