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What Cam Newton’s Touchdown Dance Really Tells Us

First, a confession. 

I am an inveterate listener to sports talk radio. Most of my time is spent on Boston’s WEEI and occasionally, New York’s WFAN when sports misfortune befalls the Yankees or Jets. 

A popular topic in both cities was talented Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton. It seems that Newton’s celebratory in-game touchdown dance struck a nerve with talk show hosts and the sporting public. Such is the outrage that a Tennessee mom penned her displeasure directly to Newton via letter, a letter she shared with the Charlotte Observer. Her letter then went viral, thrusting her into the National Newton debate.                                                                                                                                                                                              

newton td dance

Talking points are well drawn. One side claims the dance is no big deal while the other says the dance is unbecoming given the prominent team leadership position quarterbacks occupy. Still others have mentioned race as a root course of Newton dance dismay, saying outrage is due to the fact that Newton is African-American.                                     

I find the discussion interesting, but for a different reason. I believe at its core, the debate is not about leadership or race, but simply the disconnect between millennials and baby boomers. What millennials like Newton see as celebratory and an opportunity for team bonding, boomers, the majority of whom comprise sports talk hosts and callers, see as an egotistical exhibition of look at me-ism. Used to the stoicism of Johnny Unitas and the cool of Joe Montana, boomers are apt to view Newton’s dance as a jarring departure from traditional quarterback decorum.

A jarring departure from tradition is also underway in healthcare facilities management.

For many years leadership by fiat was practiced. But over the last 5 years or so, and with millennials increasingly entering the workforce, a sea change away from how things  were traditionally done is underway. Millennials, and employees in general, value balance and democracy in the workplace, two items that can be difficult to achieve in a life or death, 24X7X365 hospital environment.  

With millennials due to make up the largest section of the workforce by the end of 2015 (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) it is important for managers and directors to understand and deal with the different perspectives and ideas they bring to the workplace. In our seminar titled "The Chaos of Change," we discuss the implications of millennials entering the workforce, and the impact that greying and retiring facility leadership will have on hospitals of the future. 

So while many recite the tired tripe that quarterbacks need to act like leaders and dancing is not leadership, the Newton dance brouhaha is reflective of a broader issue impacting most professionals organizations. As millennials continue to find their way in the workplace and assume positions of leadership, they will bump up against, challenge, and alter established workplace mores of decorum.

Cam Newton’s generation is not the baby boomer generation and that is neither good nor bad. Simply, to quote Bill Belichick's oft-repeated mantra, “it is what it is.” And now you need to manage it

To see a video of the dance, please see http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap3000000580109/Cam-Newton-taunts-Titans-players-with-TD-dance)

Peter Martin

 

About Us 

Led by Principal and Founder Jack Gosselin and Partner Peter Martin, Gosselin Associates provides nationwide facilities management search consulting and education to the healthcare industry. For a full listing of job opportunities, please see http://www.gosselin-associates.com/jobs/.

For a full listing of healthcare specific education offerings, please see http://www.gosselin-associates.com/education/.

 

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