Championship Lessons Learned from the New England Patriots
For those of you who haven’t met her, Lisa Cerqueira (Primary Pitcher and Wordsmith of Something to Crow About) has been working with AARE on branding and marketing for a little over a year now. She’s a lifelong Patriots fan and sent me this article as an idea for a possible blog post. I’m in agreement with all of these points and think it’s great without any further input from me, so I’m passing it along in her own words. Take it away, Lisa!
While I was laying in bed not sleeping after one of the craziest football games I’ve ever seen, it struck me how much there is to learn from the Patriots that can be applied to business. Here are my top take-aways:
Have a plan
Each week, the Patriots coaches create a detailed game plan, the players learn and practice the plan, and go out and execute on game day. They’re not just out there “winging it” or seeing how things work out. Goal setting and action plans are key to success. Once you’ve set goals for the year, ask yourself “What will it take to accomplish this?” Take the answer(s) to that question and write down what you need to do each month, week, and workday to reach that goal, and you’ve got your game plan. Work your plan each day, and you’ll be building towards successfully reaching your goal.
Listen to your coach
Elite teams and athletes all have coaches, and you should, too. Whether it’s your boss, a mentor, a business coach, or an admired guru coaching you via the pages of a book, find someone who is successful at what you want to do and learn from them. If Tom Brady, 5-time Super Bowl champion, 4-time Super Bowl MVP, is still working with a coach and looking for ways to improve his performance, you should be, too.
Patriots teams are well-known for their study of their opponents, breaking down film, and detailed preparation. Learn everything you can about your field or industry. Identify the key players, learn their tendencies, determine where you can offer value or support. Plan for common situations and practice how to manage them successfully.
“On to Cincinnati”
Learn from your mistakes and move on. The next meeting, deal, or phone call is waiting and once you’ve made corrections for a misstep, it’s time to prepare for what’s next and stop looking in the rearview mirror.
Make half-time adjustments
And sometimes, the best-laid plans just don’t work out the way they were intended (ummmm, see Super Bowl LI). When what you’ve been doing isn’t getting the results you want (see the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results), analyze the situation, see where you can shift tactics, and put a new plan into play. Be more concerned with the result than with sticking to “the plan.”
Do your job
Be specific about your role in the plan and do your job — and let other team members do theirs. No one reaches the top on their own — surround yourself with the best team you can find and let them do their jobs. Delegate. When each person does his or her part, the whole is much greater than its parts.
Just as so many thrilling Patriots victories are cemented in the final minutes — sometimes even the final seconds — of a game, success in business requires persistence and perseverance. There are no “overnight” successes. The response rate from direct mail goes up exponentially with each touch or communication — if you quit after the first one or two, you’ll never get results from your actions. Prepare yourself for the long haul, and just keep at it.
When you close that deal, sign that contract, or shake hands with a new client, remember the team that got you there. No matter how the media turn themselves inside out trying to get Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, or another member of the team to glory in their individual accomplishments, they always respond with “I couldn’t have gotten here without this amazing team — it was a team effort.” And acknowledge the efforts of contributing team members — did someone stay late to prepare those documents, spend hours making cold calls, or introduce you to a key player? Be sure to give praise and credit wherever it is due.
Take the high road
People will say and do things that will upset you or make your job harder. Do not respond to them in kind and, whatever you do, do NOT provide opponents with “bulletin board material.” Focus on your preparation and your plan without providing any additional motivation to competitors. While it might be satisfying to see Tom Brady dis the commish, we can truly take pride in how the entire Patriots organization handles and responds to adversity. So skip the office politics and do your job.
These are the top-line lessons I came up with on four hours of sleep. Did I miss any? If so, please share your thoughts.
#DoYourJob #NeverQuit #ShutUpandDoIt #GoPats
Keep calm and rehab on!