Troy Barnett, Future Strong Hero, tells us how
Troy Barnett, Future Strong Hero
Troy Barnett is Senior Director, Corporate Services Technology at
Under Armour. He was a defensive tackle for the New England Patriots, and was suddenly forced into a career transition…
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I had three surgeries in two weeks that ended my NFL career. It was time to
get a ‘real’ job. Fortunately, every summer I had interned in the IT
department at Reebok, honing my IT skills, and their CIO offered
me a job.
After multiple roles there, I got a call from Under Armour. I am employee
number 992, so I joined while we were still in our infancy.
In February 2012, we implemented five new HR systems globally. Since then,
my focus is on the strategic side — planning for the next three-plus years
and taking everything to new levels.
The Moment of Acceptance and Transition
Realizing that my NFL career was over was scary. I was angry. I pictured
my career heading to the Hall of Fame, and it didn’t happen that way.
It was over pretty quick. It took my five years before I could enjoy
football again as a fan.
It was hard. I talked to a lot of players trying to make that transition.
The statistics are that close to 80% of players will end up in bankruptcy
at some point after leaving football, divorce rates are close to 75%
after leaving. Drug and alcohol abuse is through the roof. Because
transitioning out of that intense environment is hard.
Most people won’t have to face that intense of a transition. But what
everyone will have to face is many transitions and restarts throughout
their careers. We all have to prepare ourselves for that, and keep
investing in ourselves.
What Makes You Future Strong?
First, never take yourself so seriously, that you can’t enjoy life.
Enjoy the simple things. Family. Friends. Find your passion!
It’s not work when you love what you do, baby!
Everyone’s life is about change, transitions, about going after
new challenges, and making a difference.
Focus on what’s important. I look at my daughters and I remember
thinking that when they were young, that I had plenty of time.
My oldest is now a senior in college. The time with them has gone
by so fast!
We all need to be able to reinvent ourselves. We die inside when
we accept the status quo. Never be stagnant. Hone your skills.
What Tough Choices Do Leaders Need to Make
to Keep Their Companies Strong?
Thinking about talent. Attracting, retaining, and investing
in the talent they already have. It costs so much to bring in
Train them and guide them to be the tomorrow’s leaders. It’s so
easy to rip out a system, or move a person, or make a change
instead of understanding each individual and their needs. It seems
like each time a new leader comes in, so few take the time to
really know who’s on their bench, and how to best utilize them.
Leaders who are able to ignite people’s passions, and invest in
the people they have, and push them to grow — those will be the
companies who will come up with innovations faster than the
competition. Everybody’s trying to do more with less… So it
becomes crucial to invest in your talent to do that.
What’s Different About Tomorrow’s Workforce?
They’ve grown up interconnected and connected from birth. They’re
expecting that kind of experience at their jobs, on their computer
platforms, on their teams, in their careers and in their lives.
Especially here at Under Armour: Average age at corporate is 32.
In our stores, it’s 21. We need to ignite our business by igniting
each and every employee. We need leaders who can do that.
Kevin Plank, our CEO, wakes up every day fired up…with the
mentality of a football player, a great coach: ‘Today I am
accountable for my day. I can make it great. Or I can make it
mediocre and just coast.’ He chooses to make every day great.
Being Future Strong: The Precious Few Things
You’re the CEO of your life. You’ve got to make decisions that
are best for you, best for your family. And you’ve got to put
the time and energy into what matters to you.
That is part of your personal brand. When people see you, when
you walk into the room, how do you want to be perceived?
What value do you create, and want to be known for?
Branding — good or bad — is contagious. So you want to be
sure that your personal brand reflects who you are and
where you’re trying to go.
Also: You always have to your teammates’ backs. If we do
something great, they did it. If we mess up, the first person
who has to take accountability is me. I’ve gotten that from my
playing days — if you can build a strong team, if they know
you have their back… man, they will run through walls for you.
• Prepare yourself for tough transitions BEFORE they happen
• We die inside when we settle for the status quo
• Wake up every day accountable for your day… Choose to make it great