He's been described as a tireless worker and extremely humble. That approach has allowed him to ascend to the general manager's role of the Buffalo Bills. Upon being introduced as GM of the franchise it's clear he intends to implement that blue collar mentality to the personnel side of the franchise.
Evidence of that came in his response to the question of why he's the right man for the job.
"It's not about me," said Whaley. "It's about us and this organization. From Russ (Brandon) instilling in this organization that this is a shared common goal to put this organization back to where it's supposed to be, us competing consistently for championships, I buy into it. That's my philosophy and that's why we will all work well together."
Whaley was clear in stating that it's going to be an organizational effort from top to bottom.
"There's no magic formula and if there was I wouldn't be able to tell you because 31 other teams would want it, but if you're committed to accountability and hard work then the sky is the limit," he said.
The Bills GM calls himself an information guy. The more information he has the better he feels about his decision. At the same time Whaley doesn't pawn himself off as an all-knowing personnel man.
"Doug is very much a team-oriented guy and humble. He will build a consensus to make decisions and will not think he has all the answers," said San Diego Senior Executive Randy Mueller, who worked with Whaley while the Bills GM was an area scout for the Seattle Seahawks. "If you can build consistent consensus in your decision making you have a good chance at succeeding in this business. I think Doug will be a good leader, but yet at the same time he is always going to be one of the guys and that is a great trait in my opinion."
"As a leader, Doug is first and foremost going to be very vocal and hold everyone accountable," said former college teammate Alex Van Pelt. "Those are two of the things that will stand out immediately. He is ready for the challenge."
At the same time Whaley has been in the business long enough to know his new role will be far more demanding of his time and his expertise. That's why he hired Jim Monos and Kelvin Fisher to take on some of the responsibilities he used to have.
"You've got to put key people in position that you trust to go out and be foot soldiers for you," said Whaley. "So I'm going to delegate and empower. When you empower people I believe they work harder."
"Doug and I share many common beliefs," said Brandon. "One of them is organizations win championships, individuals do not. We also know that building a sustained winner is a shared responsibility. We're committed to one common goal and that is one focus, a laser focus and that is winning, period. Nothing else matters to either one of us. Winning is what it is all about."