Posted by: Knightbird | February 11, 2011

Aaron Rodgers and Forgiveness

Finally, I have an example of a champion who got there by being kind and forgiving—Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Super Bowl Green Bay Packers. Rick Reilly of ESPN said this about the new A Rod: “In 50 years, when they write Rodgers’ life story, they won’t praise so much his freakish arm. … No, they’ll write about his unlimited capacity to forgive. Reilly’s point was simply this—when receivers dropped perfectly thrown passes, Rodgers forgave them, did not lose his patience, chew them out in private or criticize them publicly. He forgave them and continued to rely on them. He realized that we all make mistakes and we all want redemption. Jordy Nelson dropped 3 passes, and Rodgers continued to, even purposefully, throw to him.

Why do I mention this? I do so because Lean Management is all about building forgiveness into the system. After all, it is a system. Sports in incredibly unforgiving. Jordy Nelson is an incredible talent. He is one of a handful of men who made it to a Super Bowl as a wide receiver. He has only played for 3 years. He was put into a pressure cooker. In the end, he had a Super Bowl Ring. He caught 9 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown. He injured his knee in the 4th quarter and played with the injury.

Do a Google search for “Bryant lashes out at teammates.” Change Bryant to Jordan, or Marbury, or Jeff Gordon, or any of a number of sports stars. Yes, they have wins and championships. But how many more might they have had if their reaction towards their teammates was more like Aaron Rodgers.

Forgiveness in a Lean workplace is built in when you blame poor processes for bad results instead of people. Yes, we have the occasionally people problems, but they are relatively rare. When we recognize that Rodgers cannot win a game if he stands alone, but can be a world champion if he is part of a team, it should change our behavior to be more like Rodgers, forgiving.


  1. Love your forgiveness angle as it relates to implementing lean.

    Seems like more and more folks are shying away from the Respect For People pillar of the Toyota Way, focusing only on Continuous Improvement.

    Truth is, this can work for a brief time period…but is not sustainable.

    Looking forward to hearing more about forgiveness in action as you continue efforts in Alaska. Beautiful state!

    • Thanks Steve. I saw your Lean Baseball post and thought you might be interested in how the Be Like Coach folks are using TWI to try to change the coaching for baseball.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: