Way to Go, Bears

Baylor, Baylor Football, Art Briles, Ken Starr, Waco, Baylor University, College Football, Leadership, Honesty

I am a proud graduate of Baylor University–class of 1990. I remember the days when the highlights of a football season included a respectable number of First Downs or almost beating a cross-state rival. Lately, we (all of us in Baylor Nation) have been swimming in victories. The new stadium is first class and the team has shattered records.

When the 2015 season began, we dared to dream of a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Wow. Then we lost a quarterback. Then we lost another quarterback. Then we lost another quarterback. The series of injuries was tough to believe–and even tougher for the team to overcome. The men fought bravely with passion and commitment. Eventually, we traded dreams of a spot in the final four for a late-December bowl game in Orlando. It’s been a good season. In terms of watching a team unite through adversity–it’s been a spectacular season. Endurance and perspective and character have been built into our beloved football program.

Earlier this week, I received an email from BaylorProud–a media wing of the Baylor family, championing our university–and our campus culture. Reading the email, my leadership antennae picked-up the threads of genius and courageous intent behind the email. Here is a link to that email. Read it, then come back to read a few thoughts about how Baylor leaders did a great thing through a simple email. [Click Here to Read the Email]

Here’s why this email is brilliant:

Like a good parent, Baylor leaders lifted our chins to see the good beyond the unfulfilled dreams. Strong leaders re-frame adversity–pointing their organization toward optimism and gratitude and joy. If leaders fail to step up and define the situation, the people in the organization write their own version. For some in Baylor Nation, the season might look like a failure. Through an email, our leaders invited us to stand tall and to cheer-on our team with pride.

They were honest. It’s been a difficult season. Good leaders do not avoid the subject or attempt to distract their people from disappointment. Group disappointment is an opportunity for the group to come closer together. Bad leaders choose to avoid acknowledging things that failed or flopped. Good leaders lovingly speak the truth and rally the troops to move forward together.


I don’t know who actually wrote the email about watching the Bears in the Russell Athletic Bowl Game, but they understand good leadership. And they have served the coaches, players, and support staff–and all of Baylor Nation–extremely well. I am ready for kickoff. I am proud to be a Baylor Bear…this and every season.