Navigating Change: Titans as Torchbearers

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Football is more than just scoring touchdowns; it’s a lesson in strategy, teamwork, and resilience. In “Remember the Titans,” we dive deep into such lessons. Set against the backdrop of the 1971 racial integration, the movie unfolds in Alexandria, Virginia, portraying the challenges faced by the newly integrated T.C. Williams High School football team. Coach Herman Boone, entrusted with molding a diverse group of players into a single unit, transforms a team and impacts an entire community.

As the Titans navigate the challenges of racial tension and newfound teamwork, we witness a masterclass in change management, echoing four core steps that resonate in both football and the boardroom: Building the Case for change, Driving Commitment to the cause, Developing the action plan, and Executing the strategy while continuously Learning.

Build the Case

Every impactful journey begins with understanding where you stand. When Coach Boone steps into his role, he’s immediately met with a stark reality: a team divided. Much like in businesses, this highlighted the urgency of a change initiative. The articulation of ‘what’ and ‘why’ becomes paramount. Why do two distinct groups need to meld? What consequences loom if unity isn’t achieved? Boone’s approach parallels the essential first step in any change management strategy: building a compelling case that underscores the need for change and paints a vivid picture of a harmonious, successful future.

Drive Commitment

The heart of change lies in commitment, both from those leading it and those experiencing it.

  • Align Key Stakeholders: The relationship between Coach Boone and Coach Yoast offers a textbook example. Both, initially with different perspectives, realize that their unified front is vital for the team’s success. In organizational change, this is the essence of aligning key stakeholders. Ensuring that influential figures are on board, understanding their motivations, and addressing their concerns can set the stage for smoother transitions.
  • Connect with the Affected: Perhaps the most resonant scenes in “Remember the Titans” are when teammates, once at odds, begin to understand each other. Boone’s strategies, from pairing players of different races to the intense training camp, are about building connections. In business, connecting with those affected by change is equally vital. Communication must be transparent, emphasizing the reasons behind the change, addressing concerns, and spotlighting the benefits. Ensuring everyone feels a part of the process can significantly bolster commitment levels.

Develop the Plan

With commitment secured, the next step is charting the course. The rigorous training sessions, the playbook discussions, the strategy huddles – all depict the Titans preparing for their challenges. Similarly, change management requires a robust plan that details the steps to transition from the current to the desired state. Defining roles, setting milestones, and ensuring resources are available are integral. This phase is where vision translates into actionable steps.

Execute and Learn

Execution is where the rubber meets the road. Every game the Titans played was a testament to their training, unity, and adaptability. Similarly, its real-world implications become clear once a change plan rolls out. Monitoring its progress, celebrating the small victories, learning from setbacks, and making necessary adjustments are crucial. Feedback loops, reviews, and open communication channels can ensure the plan stays on track and evolves as needed.

“Remember the Titans” isn’t merely a film; it’s a beacon for those navigating the waters of change. Its lessons offer a roadmap for any leader and are intertwined with methodical change management steps. Change, while challenging, can lead to unprecedented victories, both on the football field and in the boardroom. Embrace it, lead it, and watch transformational success unfold.

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Preston Poore

I'm an award-winning Fortune 500 executive with over 30 years of experience, including tenures at The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, and Ralston Purina. On top of that, I am a Numerica Corporation co-owner and board of directors member, published author, and a John Maxwell Team certified speaker, trainer, and executive coach.


My learnings and lessons are not drawn from the classroom of academic theory but from the crucible of marketplace trenches. I share my hard-earned experience with audiences to help them, their teams, and organizations become the best version of themselves.

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