You are currently viewing The PLAYER-COACH IS BACK



Bryan Anderson, President You may have seen them on the field or on the court: those members of a sports team who play the game and, at the same, command strategy for the team. In business, the Player-Coach is that high-performing individual who goes beyond setting the vision to simultaneously getting his or her hands dirty in the day-to-day execution of the business. For every business that has been impacted by COVID-19, your world is changing. And it’s changing fast. Maybe you have applied for your PPP loan, or perhaps you’ve already received it. Whatever your plan of action may be, you’re no doubt looking differently at your organization and its needs.


One observation I’ve made is that the Player-Coach is back in business. In the “old” days, we had the time and resources to develop people. So, we looked for those with management skills and set them up to lead various operations across the company. But the Coronavirus has changed things dramatically. Why? In the current climate, the businesses at risk are those with deep organizational structures. Org charts are flattening. To manage budgets and weather the storm, business owners are finding themselves in need of fewer “managers” and more “owners” – more of those high-performing individuals who just know how to contribute by getting things done and leading by example. We need more Player-Coaches.


How can those fantastically talented managers, who were let go in this calamity, reinvent and reinvigorate themselves? Companies like ours need boots on the ground to handle growth. At this stage and in this climate, we need doers. We need Player-Coaches. For those who have recently and unfortunately been “let go,” I might suggest the following as you anticipate diving back into the ranks of the employed:
  1. Remember what got you there. Org charts have flattened and will continue to do so over the next 6-12 months. So, think back over your career. What personal and professional skills did you first bring to the table? What were your core competencies? Who you are (and not who you manage) is a great place to start.
  2. Gain trust quickly by being proactive. If businesses need doers to grow, then be the one looking for places to move the chains. What challenges need to be tackled? What problems need to be solved? Identifying these and taking proactive steps to address them is a great step to adding value to any business.
  3. Impact revenue every day. No matter what you offer, whether it’s value in product, sales, marketing, or operations, let me encourage you to tie your monthly, weekly – even daily – contribution to revenue. It is arguably the most important indicator of a business’s health. As the business rebounds, you’ll be connected to its success.
  4. Ask “What project can I tackle that will make a difference?” This question puts hands and feet on the subject of revenue, mentioned above. Get super familiar with your company’s strategic objectives. Then put your observation powers to work. Which existing project needs assistance to get over the line? What new initiative could you recommend to grow revenue?
  5. Show your value by doing (not by managing). Once the most effective uses of your time and talents have been identified, dive in. Just run. Of course, as you do, maintain strong communication with leadership. Work closely with peers to ensure you’re aligned with other projects. And wherever you can, help.
  6. Teach and invest in others on your team. This is the coach part of Player-Coach. Devote time to meet with others, and mutually share what you’re working on. Find creative ways to add value to each other’s work. And be humble enough to receive their input as well.


Perhaps you’re the business owner, looking for Player-Coaches to weather the storm of COVID-19. Or maybe you’re someone ready to roll up your sleeves in your next role. Whoever you are, it’s a time of tremendous change – and challenge. But it’s time to embrace the challenge and take advantage of this opportunity to grow. Here at Captivated, we’re grateful to be experiencing a great deal of growth due to COVID-19, simply because more businesses are realizing the need to fundamentally change how they engage their customers. They’ve chosen us to help them in changing business communication for good (yes, that has a double meaning!), and it’s a privilege we don’t take lightly. If you’re ready to make communicating with your audience easier and more efficient, maybe it’s time we connect. Otherwise, there is a ton of opportunity for personal and professional growth right now.   Let’s all embrace the challenge!