The Cleveland Browns are the absolute worst team in football. They have not made the playoffs since 2002 and until last week, they had not won a game in over 635 days. They have had 13 losing seasons since 1997, and have finished dead last in their division 11 times in the past 16 seasons. They have started 20 [ Yes, twenty] different quarterbacks since 1997 and nearly half that in head coaches have come and gone since 97′.

The Browns have been the laughing stock of the league for as long as I can remember [I just turned 30, so that should speak for itslef]. Since I was a little kid The Clevland Browns have been AWFUL, to the point where you really start to feel sorry for them and their fans.

Years would pass, draft day would come and go, but my friends from Ohio would always shout, “This is OUR year.” This year, the Browns drafted a kid from Oklahoma named Baker Mayfield with high hopes of getting that first win [and a few more] this season.

The Browns were featured this season on an HBO television show called Hardknocks, [each season HBO will follow an NFL team for the duration of their pre-season] and I watched every episode. I was impressed by this kids poise and his ability to get the entire coaching staff and his teammates behind him. Gaining their trust was something he had to do in order to be a leader on the team and have his teammates and coaches believe that he could lead them to victory.

Well, the city of Clevland and the Browns wouldn’t have to wait for long for that first win of the season. They won their first game week 3 of the season. Baker Mayfield came into the game in the second half to lead his team to a victory, they beat the Jets in a 21–17 awe-inspiring finish.

What surprised me the most was not what happened on the field, but what happened in the post-game press conference and the way Mayfield handled himself in front of the lights and cameras as a young rookie QB.

Mayfield was asked by a panel of ESPN commentators in front of millions of people watching at home how he felt when he entered the game after the previous QB was benched. Mayfield responded, “First I want to thank my teammates and coaches for allowing me to lead this team and this city to a victory.” Before mentioning how amazing his own performance was, he talked about how Tyrod Taylor [The Browns starting QB for the game and veteran QB in the NFL], had been a huge influence on his performance. He made a point to discuss how it was a team effort and how he would not have been as successful as he was if it was not for his teammates.

How do Mayfelids attitude and selfless post-game speech apply to and presenting to stakeholders?

As a leader, Mayfield deflected a lot of the praise he was receiving as the winning QB to his teammates. He made sure to mention that it was a team effort and not a single effort that led them to their victory.

As designers, we’re part of a team. Its important for us, especially when we’re presenting designs, to make sure to point out the amount of effort the entire team put in to deliver.

It’s about acknowledging the accomplishment as a collective effort, not one person taking for the hard work of others.

What happens when you don’t deliver on time and your designs are not great? As a leader, you have to take responsibility for your team, that weight falls on your shoulders. It’s your burden to bear. Since you’re the leader, you have to take the fall for everyone and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Addressing each issue with each team member offline.

Next time you’re presenting designs to stakeholders, try this:

  • Mention 2 people on your team who went above and beyond to deliver the product.
  • Say, “it was a collective effort and we really came together as a whole to make this happen.” Take a specific effort [interviews, wireframes, or a prototype], and specifically identify how that single effort helped the team in their success.
  • Talk about how you believe in your team, that you want to see them succeed as individuals and members of the team, so the team can deliver the best product possible for the organization.
The Browns after their first win in 635 days.

Practicing this during your client/stakeholder presentations will not only show some humility and selflessness on your end, but you will gain a TON of respect from your team members by acknowledging them in front of some of the higher-ups. The next time they are asked to step up and deliver for you, they will have the willingness and drive to do so because you recognized them in front of others.

Below is a video of the press conference, to be honest, I was surprised I was watching a rookie. during this post-game talk, he comes off like a seasoned veteran. After watching this press conference, I can definitely say I’m really pulling for the Browns this year to have a winning record.

Congratulations to The Browns organization and their fans on their first victory in 635 days.

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