Building a Get Up for the C-suite

Every Monday morning, I watch Get Up on ESPN. I may or may not have seen the NFL games the day before, but I never miss this show.

That’s because while I love football, I really love data management, by which I mean smart people working with fresh data in a search of the insights that tell the story and make the world more intelligible.

Get Up is very good at this.

We might even say there are only a few teams in the NFL who are as good at football as the Get Up crew is at data management.

Here’s Get Up in action this morning.

Here’s Rex Ryan, the most accessible man on television, telling us what happened during the Chiefs game.

And notice over his left shoulder. It’s an insert that reads:

Hembo: Offensive plays, Panthers (76), Chiefs (58).

This is near to real time data, computed by the analyst Hembo yesterday or this morning, and then dropped into the broadcast at the very moment it’s germane to the conversation.

Every corporation needs just-in-time data. How many get it?

Here is Dan Orlovsky taking us through a Chief’s touchdown frame by frame. What was a blur on Sunday is made perfectly clear.

This is Ryan Clark on one of his rhetorical flights. That anyone should be this good at language when he also happens to have played in the NFL, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl, well, that just doesn’t seem fair to me. (It’s just possible God is playing favorites.)

And here is Mike Greenberg doing the air traffic control. Flawlessly. He never misses a name, never misses a throw, never fails to supply a quiding intelligence, the wheel within which the other wheels turn.

So what does this have to do with the American corporation?

What if every corporation created its own Get Up to supply the navigational intelligence that mattered for the week ahead? What if this were how members of the corporation prepared for the week?

In the place of Greenberg, Ryan, Clark and Orlovsky, there would be members of the C-suite. Talking about strategy, tactics, changes, innovations, the game in play. They could share their thoughts on:

  • Our recent product launch.
  • What will have to happen now that a competitive corporation has launched a competitive product.
  • The bigger trends that sit “off shore” and threaten us with black swans (dangerous but hard to see trends spotting by our map of the future.)
  • Big achievements by employees x and y who just solved some of our really persistent problems.
  • Some impromptu (or carefully drafted) thoughts from the CEO on how he or she sees the bigger picture.

Naturally, all of this has to be shuttered and protected from prying eyes. But that’s simple enough to do.

What difference would a corporate Get Up make? It’s the difference between a corporation in which everyone has a vivid idea of what they are doing this coming week and why…and one in which people are going through the motions.

Would it, could it, be as good as the ESPN original? Well, no. But it wouldn’t have to be to create extraordinary value for corporation. After all, these days we either respond to the vicious disruptions of the marketplace or die.

Maybe ESPN could create local Get Up franchises with training advice, sound stages, and tactical models.

Let me know what you think by email here.


Grant McCracken is a cultural anthropologist. He has written several books including Chief Culture Officer which was named one of the best innovation books by BusinessWeek in 2009. He consults widely, including Google, Ford Foundation, Kanye West, Netflix, Sony, Coca Cola, Sam Adams, Boston Book Festival, Oprah, PBS, State Farm, NBC, Diageo, IBM, Nike, and the Obama White House. He has taught at the Harvard Business School. He is the inventor of The Griff, an early warning system for social and cultural change (see His new book A New Honor Code will be published by Simon and Schuster in January 2021.

I'm an anthropologist & author of Chief Culture Officer. You can reach me at