The time of year has come and gone where we gather with family and friends and indulge in food and beverages while enjoying arguably the best sporting event of the year – the Super Bowl.
This past week I progressed through my standard pre-game rituals (skimming blogs, analyzing stats, listening to press conferences, etc.) like I do ever year.
However, this season included an aspect I had not experienced in years past, a reflection period. For some reason I could not help but reflect on how building a successful football team paralleled a company’s efforts to build a successful company.
My analysis illuminated three crucial attributes of a successful football team that I felt translated into the business world:
Attention to detail
A winning attitude
Attention to Detail
Teams led by Bill Belichick have always been known for their attention to detail while Pete Carroll has historically made his focus fundamentals. Both approaches have streamlined players’ responsibilities. Such efforts help players avoid simple mistakes that can ultimately change the outcome of the game.
Companies can easily adapt this strategy when training and developing work process for their employees. Simplifying processes for individual workers will help them avoid feeling discouraged and frustrated with their jobs. Of course this is not as easy as it sounds and can be difficult to enforce with a job that requires many tasks or duties from the employee. However, finding a way to simplify a nonstrategic task will help streamline the duties of the employees and keep them focused on adding value when they can.
A Winning Attitude
Each team takes a different approach to maintaining a winning attitude, however, both cause the same result, a positive culture. The Seahawks, for instance, are coached through positive reinforcement. Pete Carroll builds his team’s confidence and instills the belief that anything is possible. This coaching strategy has proved successful numerous times throughout Carroll’s coaching career.
The Patriots have been legitimate contenders for the Lombardi Trophy for several years. One of the contributing factors to this success is their ability to remain even-keeled throughout high-pressure situations. New England never seems to overly celebrate the good times or wallow in the bad times. Doing so helps the team stay focused on the task at hand and contributes to their success.
The same thought process can be applied to a company. I believe a hybrid strategy throughout an organization is the best approach. Much like the Seahawks, you want employees to be focused on positive outcomes and experiences. And similar to the Patriots, it is crucial to have individuals in management positions that remain even keeled in the most stressful situations. All companies will hit rough patches, but those who can stay focused and keep their workforce focused on the task at hand will prosper in the long run.
Leadership at a player level is a necessary element for any successful football team. The Patriots have a long established offensive leader in Tom Brady while the Seahawks have up-and-coming leaders like Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. All of these players demand respect through their actions and keep their teammates accountable and focused on the strategies their coaches are implementing.
In a corporate setting mid level managers often play the role of Tom Brady, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. While top management can build the structure and set forth strategies to build out culture, it is the mid level managers who help implement and enforce these ideas throughout the organization. Their ability to buy in and lead their teams is key to company growth. Many organizations overlook the value of middle managers causing issues – such as, leadership dependence. These are the problems that ultimately hinder growth and create a less functional team overall.
Regardless of yesterday’s outcome, the hard work and dedication by both organizations cannot be overlooked. Championship companies are not built in one year or with one hire. It takes commitment and drive to end up champions, both on the football field and in the office.