Packers president gives UW-Parkside students a pep talk



Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy spoke to business students today about the Green and the Gold but mostly about the green.

Murphy, who joined the football organization in 2007, shared his management ideas with an on-campus audience mostly of University of Wisconsin-Parkside students from the campus’ College of Business, Economics and Computing.

Murphy is the College’s spring 2013 executive in residence, a program that offers Parkside students chances to meet business leaders from the Midwest.

A major influence on Murphy’s management style was the Washington Redskins’ coach Joe Jackson Gibbs and how he handled players.

“He took an interest in each player,” recalled Murphy, who played for the team from 1977 to 1984, including two Super Bowls. “He’d sit with me and ask, ‘What can we do to make sure we win this week?’ There’s a term for that: MBWA, or Management By Wandering Around.”

The idea might sound ludicrous, he said, but that approach is preferable to the “open door” policy practiced by many bosses.

“It’s not easy for people to walk into a boss’ office, so bosses should walk around and meet people instead,” he said. “You’d be amazed by the kinds of things you’d learn about an organization by doing that.”

Important management techniques, Murphy said, include:

-- Hire good people, put them in the appropriate positions, then let them do their jobs. “A lot of teams have an owner who tries to micro-manage. To be a good leader, you need to be a good communicator and listener.”

-- Recognize success. “When someone does an outstanding job, let them know. Give them the support and resources to be successful.”

-- Have a strategic planning process; review strengths and weaknesses; survey the competition for opportunities to improve and for determining threats.

-- Pay attention to customers.

One patron, who also was a shareholder in the organization, wrote to express disappointment that during a December game, one refreshment area sold out of bratwurst.

“How can the Green Bay Packers, in Wisconsin, run out of brats?” Murphy said the writer complained.

Packer officials chuckled at the letter, but Murphy said its question was right on the mark. He said arrangements then were made to make sure the brat supply would be sufficient.

Murphy said sale of Packers stock is helping pay for 7,000 new seats, renovating an atrium and work on development around Lambeau Field stadium. He said the projects will help attract more customers and give a boost to the local economy.

He added that the Packers’ strategic plan today includes staying in Green Bay and winning championships.

“I don’t think anybody can argue with that,” he said.

Advice from Murphy for life as well as business

-- Don’t burn bridges, build them. “You’re going to meet all kinds of people, and you’ll sometimes be in adversarial positions with them. If you conduct yourself in a professional, not personal, manner, it will help you go a long way.”

-- Don’t sweat the small stuff. “Keep things in perspective. Everything will blow over.”

-- The harder you work, the luckier you get. “Things don’t come easy in life, but if you work hard and prepare, you give yourself more of a chance for success. It’s not luck when you succeed.”

Murphy described these as “pearls of wisdom,” based on sayings from his father.


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