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  • Writer's picturePeter Miller

Continuing our Running a Championship System series, Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst joined SGG to discuss leadership in the Packers organization and beyond.

Brian Gutekunst is the general manager of the Packers. A longtime member of the organization, he was named to his current role in 2018. He is one of the team’s key leaders. Brian joined SGG to contribute to our focus on Running a Championship System. We discussed:

1. Learning the value of competition from his father, who coached at the collegiate level.

2. His father as a teacher: “He recognized that he had them between ages 18 and 22.”

3. Roger Harring UW-La Crosse. Rolen Christianson. Toughness. Work ethic.

4. Mentor: Ron Wolf. Confidence. Aggressiveness.

5. Mentor: Ted Thompson. Tough decisions in the day to day “with steadiness, integrity and grace.”

6. How his own experiences with injuries impacted the ways he leads as a general manager. “Everybody has value.”

7. “It’s good to have a diverse group of people who have different strengths.”

8. How he organizes information. “Pack Track.”

9. “The whole idea of gathering all this information is to make good decisions.”

10. Why the Packers do not out-source data tracking. Keeping information “close to the vest.” And, when you outsource, quick changes can be difficult to make: “If we want to make a change, it’s within hours. Not within weeks or days.”

11. The importance of the draft room.

12. How do you track intangibles – individually and collectively? The value of the Packers’ nine scouts who are always visiting college campuses: “I don’t think anything can replicate boots on the ground.”

13. “Until you get them into your environment…you never 100% know how it’s going to pan out with each player.”

14. The value of internal development of staff talent. “We get to know the person…Coming from the outside in, it can be more difficult that way.”

15. Setting boundaries as GM. Protecting time to sit down and watch tape.

16. Key to facilitating difficult conversations: Over-communication. “If you don’t give them the whys, then they’re going to create their own.”

17. The influence of Mark Murphy’s management by walking around: “He’s led by example and that’s taken root throughout our organization.”

18. Mark Murphy, who in many ways functions as other teams’ owners do, has a deep understanding of the game – deeper than most owners. The impact of his everyday leadership – especially as juxtaposed with team owners in other settings.

19. Ted Thompson: “I always wonder what it would be like if I could still pick up the phone and ask him, ‘What do you think?’”

20. Self-evaluation.


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