I didn’t attend the University of Oregon, but I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, so tonight’s national championship game between U of O and Ohio State is personal. Eugene’s culture is hinged on two things: U of O sports and hippies. It’s a beautiful thing.

It should come as no surprise that the culture within Oregon’s athletics is powerful and carefully fostered. Forbes’ Carmine Gallo wrote about the university’s athletic culture today in his piece “Pixar, Oregon Ducks, and how culture builds winning teams.” Gallo analyzes the special culture within the Oregon football team, and compares it to Pixar’s equally unique culture.

“The common theme between Pixar’s culture and the Oregon Ducks is that both cultures are focused on building trust, transparency, candor, and openness,” Gallo writes.

As this Wall Street Journal article points out, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich and his staff have ditched the age-old technique of screaming at players to motivate them. Instead, Oregon’s coaches provide regular feedback and encouragement, making players feel that their work worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized.

“Society has changed,” says one Oregon coach. And he’s right, especially when it comes to leading young people. This year Millennials are expected to be the largest generation in the workforce and they do expect to be treated differently.

Millennials demand open feedback, candor and regular recognition for their contributions. And if they aren’t getting that they won’t stand for it. They’ll go somewhere else where they feel as though their opinions matter. Pixar and Facebook have embraced this new management reality. And apparently the Oregon football team is just as cutting edge. And it’s paying off.

“Society has changed in our understanding of how best to encourage, motivate, and inspire our people.  Give people a voice and they’ll reward you with their loyalty and performance,” Gallo wrote.

Now let’s Go Ducks!

Marcus Mariota is the first University of Oregon football player to win the Heisman Trophy. (Source: KPTV.com)

Marcus Mariota is the first University of Oregon football player to win the Heisman Trophy. (Source: KPTV.com)