(originally published in Feb of 2015 - still very applicable!)
As a child in the 70’s in New England, I was not blessed with a football team (or baseball team for that matter) that won championships. In fact, the only time I remember being excited for the Patriots was in 1986 when we chanted “Squish the Fish” to get past the Miami Dolphins before getting to the Super Bowl and getting walloped by the Chicago Bears and their “Super Bowl Shuffle”.
Since 2000, we have seen an amazing run of championships in New England. The Red Sox stunned us all with three World Series victories, the Bruins and Celtics have each won once and our beloved Patriots have just cemented their place in history as one of three teams to win the championship four times, alongside Bradshaw and the Steelers and Montana and the 49ers. In fact, the Belichick/Brady combo is the first team in NFL history to win 11 division championships in a 12-year span. Belichick's 12 divisional titles overall are the most by a head coach since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. With his 12th division championship this season, Brady stayed one ahead of Peyton Manning for the most ever by a starting quarterback.
I know we have been inundated over the last few weeks with stats like this, and this is not a football blog – it’s a business blog. So where’s the connection you ask? Stay with me. The Patriots, and particularly Coach Belichick, have been demonstrating two key business practices for the last several years. Redefining your processes and goals, and emphasizing a common direction.
While the goal each year has been constant – a super bowl victory – the way to get there has consistently changed. Whether it’s between seasons or during halftime, Bill Belichick has never hesitated to erase the drawing board completely and start again. His willingness to look at what is working in the moment and capitalizing on that has been a huge part of his success. This works just as well in the business world. You as a business owner need to consistently review your marketing plan and your approach to your customers and see if it is still applicable. Get a colleague to walk through your business with fresh eyes and see what is outdated. Look for efficiencies in processes to save money. Review your mailing list for deadwood and for new target areas. Find new places to advertise and new demographics to reach out to. Your business plan needs review from time to time. Pull it out of the drawer, dust it off and see if it still works. Don’t ignore it!
The other remarkable thing that became most evident in the last 2 weeks was the ability of Bill Belichick to get all of his players saying the same thing to the cameras. I do not believe that it is through a heavy hand, but instead through the leadership that he provides that has all members of the team believing that this is what’s best for the team. They all understand the goal, and the path that their Coach is taking them on, and they respect him and follow his example. This too is crucial in your business. Take care of your employees and make them part of the team. Share the vision of the organization and ensure they believe in where the company is going. Make sure that when they talk about your business outside of the office that they are all on the same page as management.
So before you file this recent football season into the memory banks, I encourage you to take a moment to take some of their success and apply it to your own firm. Step up your own game just a notch. As always, if you need help, let us know.