BALTIMORE, MD – As the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are coming off of a 37-20 loss to NFL MVP candidate QB Lamar Jackson and one of their longtime bitter AFC postseason rivals in the Baltimore Ravens, Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses should look at them as a successful business model and corporate team-building.
Yes, those New England Patriots.
Spygate. Deflategate. Kraftgate. Donald Trump. Yes, aside from some of their highly questionable controversies both on and off the field, there is no debating or questioning their sustained success in winning a league-best six Super Bowls—tying them with the Pittsburgh Steelers—for most in the Super Bowl era.
To say that the Patriots have dominated the NFL since 2000 is an understatement per the stats below:
- 255-89-0 record
- 74.2 win percentage
- 6 Super Bowl titles
- 13 AFC Championship game appearances
- 16 AFC East division titles
They’ve won with the likes of Troy Brown, Julian Edelman, James White, Rob Gronkowski, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest—and of course, the most famous sixth-round selection in NFL history—Tom Brady.
From a business perspective, even the most successful business whether its Apple, Google or Microsoft employ a winning culture, developing employees the right way, and all team members to do their assigned task. Many companies could learn from the Pats on how to build and develop quality corporate team building practices.
Strong Top-Down Leadership: With Robert Kraft as CEO, Bill Belichick as head coach and Tom Brady at QB, New England has development a consistent winning culture and atmosphere that many try to copy and duplicate, and even fewer succeed at. Also known as “The Patriot Way”, the Pats do a great job at scouting and developing players, using players in a unique and different way, keeping team issues in-house and not disclosing any internal drama outside of Foxboro.
One can argue that Patriots headquarters is the Fort Knox of the NFL.
What companies can learn from the Patriots is finding and identifying strong leadership at the top at CEO such as Kraft, hiring the right general manager/vice president of operations or head coach like Belichick to entrust in running the company and be as hands-off as possible. The “quarterback” of the company doesn’t need to be a hotshot out of Harvard or some super-smart prodigy from Stanford, but business-savvy and knowing how to manage and trust the right people, while holding them accountable a la Brady.
Do Your Job!: The trademark philosophy of the Patriots uttered by Belichick after a Super bowl win, it is the very ethos of the aforementioned Patriot Way. What it means is that if you’re a pass-rushing defensive end, your job is to rush the quarterback. Period. If you are a nickel cornerback assigned to cover a WR3 in the slot, you cover him. Period.
Basically in New England, there is no confusion as to what your job or assignment is on Sundays. From both a company and team-building perspective, businesses can learn to direct employees to focus on one task and assignment and not overload them with multiple menial tasks that could hinder one’s productivity or contributions to the company as a whole.
Never Disclose Company Business: Ever hear the term, “loose lips sink ships” ? In the case of the New England Patriots, they are a fine-tuned dreadnaught when it comes to keeping team matters in-house. Whether it is a injury update, internal drama or game plans, getting anything out of Belichick or the Patriots organization is like drawing blood from a stone.
Nearly impossible and will likely never happen.
Ever hear or see any turmoil from New England? Ever hear of any contract squabbles with players or any players airing their grievances thru the media like other high-profile franchises such as the Dallas Cowboys? While ‘America’s Team” lives and breathes drama 24-7, the Patriots are as eventful as Bible study. Again, this is another example of the top-down strong type of leadership that has been set forth by Kraft, Belichick and Brady in keeping things in-house and players doing their job.
No internal drama or bickering thru the media = winning and Super Bowls. That simple.
What companies can burrow from the Patriots is directing employees to not disclose any internal affairs, such as business dealings, day-to-day operations to outside parties. While most corporations require new employees to sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and/or a non-compete clause agreement, preventing them from going to a rival company and disclosing company secrets, it is smart business and strong team-building to build solid rapport and camaraderie amongst current staff so that unhappy employees won’t be teamed to take their talents elsewhere.
In closing, you can love them, hate them or simply loathe them for their questionable ways—cheating—of winning and being successful, but the bottom line is that the Patriots are at the top of the NFL mountain for the three reasons above. When you have a strong leader at the top of a company in Kraft, it trickles down to trusting your company to a strong manager such as Belichick who in turn executes the vision in letting qualified employees to run the operation like Brady.
The working relationship between, Kraft, Belichick and Brady is one that should be studied by corporations for years to come, as having strong leadership from top to bottom is what has made the Patriots—and can make any company—as successful and envied by many for years to come.