What Kind Of Teammate Are You?


(By Bob McCurdy) There are a lot of parallels between sales and sports and while this week’s national championship football game was one for the ages, the manner in which Alabama won might have even transcended the game itself. And I am not referring the final touchdown pass.

There were three developments in the second half, two off the field and one on, from which we could all learn.

While watching any game, I tend to focus on the sidelines to observe the interaction between players and coaches. Sideline dynamics are fascinating in that they shed considerable light on the relationship between player and coach, how each responds/handles adversity as well as the management/leadership style of the head coach, i.e. how he treats/interacts with his assistant coaches.

In Monday’s game, Alabama’s 19-year-old starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, was benched in the second half for the first time in his career in front of 30 million viewers in the biggest game of his life. As commissioned salespeople we are keen competitors, so it’s easy to relate to the extreme disappointment likely experienced by this young man.

So how did this 19-year-old react? Like a poised champion. He was as engaged on the sidelines, enthusiastically rooting for his teammates as if he wasn’t just benched, but still playing. You can see his post-game interview here.

It actually brought a tear to my eye when he said, “I am a team player. I’m a leader, that’s what leaders do, they look out for the team.” When asked about the player who replaced him, he responded, “I was supportive, like he’s been to me all year. We have mutual respect for each other.” Prior to this locker room interview, he was seen on the field smiling, posing for pictures with kids and celebrating with his teammates. In fact, he was one of the first ones on the field celebrating when they had won.

Total class and pure character and grace on display by this 19-year-old in spite of just experiencing extreme disappointment. I was blown away by his attitude and character.

Takeaway: We all experience major disappointments. Management might not make the decision we were hoping for, we might not get the promotion we think we deserve or we might lose an account to a colleague. Ultimately, it is the manner in which we handle adversity and disappointment that defines us as individuals. An old coach used to say, “Reputation is what other people think you are. Character is who you really are.” The fact that this is a commission business should not prevent us from being selfless and supportive teammates, winning together and losing together.

This young man can be on my team any time.

Now for Tua Tagovailoa, the backup quarterback. He’s an inexperienced, seldom-used freshman. His coach unexpectedly thrusts him into the spotlight in a national championship game and he’s called on to save the day for Alabama. So what does he do? He single-handedly saves the day!

Peak performers are at their best when their best is needed and this young man was superior to the immense challenge he faced, in life-altering fashion.

Takeaway: There are things in business we can control and things we can’t, but we can control our attitude and our preparation, as this young player so ably demonstrated. Control these two things and the odds are you will achieve your life and professional goals. At his young age, it appears he understood that “success” is when proper preparation meets opportunity. His opportunity came Monday night and he is forever an Alabama legend. Good for him.

Finally, let’s focus on Nick Saban, the Alabama head coach. It’s half time and his team is getting dominated in the ultimate game. His starting quarterback is struggling and his backup quarterback is an untested freshman.

A tough predicament. So what does he do? He does what great leaders do. He looks reality in the eye, trusts his intuition and makes the difficult decision. He starts the inexperienced back-up quarterback in the second half and wins the national championship. Had he lost, he’d likely have been second-guessed by the media and Alabama fans for years to come. I doubt this fact entered his mind for even a second.

Takeaway: Coach Saban made the courageous decision, which is what great leaders do. He clearly understands that leadership is not a popularity contest, it is always doing what’s best for the entire team, which often means making the difficult decision, not the easy decision. You can hear Coach Saban talking about his decision here.

Who would have guessed that so many life lessons would be on display in just 30 minutes of a football game.

I learned from watching these two young men and their head coach Monday night. I will be a better professional as a result of it.

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. These are not trifling matters that can be subjugated by introducing silly, non-functioning exceptions.
    Radio is where it is despite whatever seminars are being touted because fundamental issues are not being addressed.
    And even when some stellar information is being presented, attendees forget about it before they get out of the bar and head for the parking lot. There is little likelihood the materials will be implemented.

  2. These are not trifling matters that can be subjugated by introducing silly, non-functioning exceptions.
    Radio is where it is despite whatever seminars are being touted because fundamental issues are not being addressed.
    And even when some stellar information is being presented, attendees forget about it before they get out of the bar and head for the parking lot. There is little likelihood the materials will be implemented. implement whatever is being provided.

    • “Radio is where it is despite whatever seminars are being touted because fundamental issues are not being addressed”

      You’re wrong again. If you just did a little research, you’d find out every possible issue and topic you could think of is being addressed, and it’s being addressed by the best and brightest people. Whether or not they remember it isn’t the point. You said ““Recruiting, teaching/training and motivational resources are unavailable.” and you’re wrong. It’s available, it’s happening, and thousand of people are taking part. Just admit you’re wrong, and move on.

  3. Given all the “availability” that is alleged to be pertinent and accessible, and given the extraordinary lack of improvement of radio over the last decades, one could easily surmise the quality of all this surmised training and teaching is highly suspect. Nor is it offered to the rank and file. In other words: hardly available at all.
    Try listening to the radio. Then try arguing for the status quo.

    • You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’ve never been to any of these seminars, you have never seen who attends, you have never listened to what is presented, and you don’t know who it’s offered to. Stop insulting people you don’t know or seminars you’ve never attended. You’re showing just how big of an idiot you really are. You & the president are suffering from the same disease.

      No one is arguing for the status quo. That’s something you have made up. It’s your own personal straw man. What I am saying is that you are wrong when you say there are no places for teaching, training, or motivation. That’s ALL I’m saying. Anyone can go to these seminars. I was offered the chance to go to numerous training and teaching seminars, paid for by my employers. I’m not the only one. It happens all the time. Stick to what you know. Whatever that is. It’s not seminars.

  4. “Available” could become, like “access” just another weasel-word.
    Similar to the so-called American Health Care System, “access” is code for “whoever can afford the insurance premiums”.
    “Available” training for radio-folk, meanwhile, has not produced another generation of more adept and competent practitioners. Decades have passed where radio has only become more fragmented and suppressed than at any other time in its history.
    Anonymous apologists like TheBigA would be better served if they could produce even a halfway credible argument. Exceptions only demonstrate the lacking in the main body.

    • You said it was unavailable. I just pointed out that it was, and gave you several examples. I call that a credible argument. Not that it makes any difference to you.

  5. “Recruiting, teaching/training and motivational resources are unavailable.”

    Unavailable? Pretty much every month there is a seminar available for professionals who have the interest to attend. Some are format specific, like Country Radio Seminar. Some are day-part specific, like Morning Show Boot Camp. Then there’s the NAB Radio Show. All of them are filled with motivational and training sessions. Most of them even deal with writing commercial copy, producing local spots, and your other favorite topics. Maybe they’re unavailable for you, but for everyone else, they’re readily available. And all of them are covered in detail right here at RadioInk.com.

  6. While “The Tide” ultimately prevailed (as did The Vikings on Sunday), and even as Bob provides a thrilling motivational premise, there are some elements left out that are still relevant to the day-to-day operation of radio stations everywhere.

    Top ranked university football programs enjoy any number of advantages when compared to “WXXX – Dog Stool’s Best Music”. The teams are made up of the most talented, best trained, most disciplined and most motivated athletes available. Coaching staffs are among the elite.

    Available resources to support the programs are greater than the GDP of some third world countries. Yet championships can never be assured, much less guaranteed.

    Radio, by comparison, is rife with incompetent individuals whose only motivation is the maintenance of personal pay checks. Recruiting, teaching/training and motivational resources are unavailable.

    While Bob’s story suggests the possible attainment of a first-class berth on a world class cruise liner, the reality is that radio’s workers can more often be found below decks – shovelling coal. These are the last people who can be expected to respond to an otherwise outstanding motivational speech.

  7. Good points Bob: Confidence in your team is foremost, but it takes leadership to make tough decisions, including sticking with the plan or changing. Don’t second guess yourself, do what is necessary because it is the right thing to do in the situation.


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