In the history of the National Football League, there is no team in the famous final game more than three times – with the exception of the New England Patriots. This success is of course not a coincidence. When it comes to management, companies have a lot to learn from Patriots.
In the past 20 years, no American professional team has achieved the kind of success in the league they have played in the New England Patriots’ National Football League (NFL). Regularly winning matches every season in the NFL is a very hard achievement. This tactical and ruthless sport requires 53 players to move in near perfect synchronization. Even in a short period of 10 years, “consistent success” is a level that only a few teams can reach. But Patriots have been making a difference for nearly 20 years. The team has been in the Super Bowl eight times since 2001, which is an incredible feat. No team other than the Patriots had even participated in the tournament more than three times.
New England’s success is a reflection of the way the organization is run. Ultimately, NFL is also a business and Patriots leads the organization of which it is a part, with best management practices. Focusing on the essentials and fitness, Patriots shape the system it uses to shine the strengths of its staff and do not let disruptions take them away from the path to success. Companies have a lot to learn from Patriots; especially when it comes to personnel management and consistent leadership.
The Patriots have proven their worth in keeping their players performing at their best. While there are many strong, smart and athletic football players in the NFL, Patriots do a much better job of optimizing their players’ performance than any other team. We have witnessed many times in the past that many overlooked actors have done far above their previous performances when it comes to Patriots. Likewise, we’ve seen time and again that very successful Patriots players achieved disappointing results after leaving and joining a new team. Just like Patriots, companies must ensure that their talent and the system they use complement each other.
While the Patriots can get the optimum performance from their players, they are not afraid to make difficult decisions about their staff. If he believes that an actor is past his best time, he doesn’t get emotional about posting him. So no one is untouchable when it comes to the survival of the team. There was much talk of Malcolm Butler’s not being placed on the front line in the 2018 Super Bowl, with the Patriots’ performance that confirmed the 2015 Super Bowl victory. Companies should learn from Patriots that no one is superior to the team, regardless of their seniority or past success.
One of the most important elements of the Patriots’ success is the stability in their main leadership positions and their knowing what they want philosophy. Owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady make up the core of the Patriots dynasty. Even when these three disagree on matters off the pitch (as we recently saw on Brady’s controversial personal coach and whether or not substitute quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was recruited), nothing beats their commitment to excellent football. Many books written on management; encourages companies to develop internal talent and evolve into an organization full of employees ready to become CEOs. Although the Patriots did not adopt this clause of best management practices, consistent leadership in their senior management determined the direction of the entire organization.
The Patriots’ three defeats in the Super Bowl also contain some lessons for those standing by the defeat. The team lost to the New York Giants in the 2008 and 2012 Super Bowl games, and to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2018 Super Bowl. In each of these three matches, the opposing team applied the same basic strategy and made constant attacks on Brady. The only way to effectively contain Brady was to break his rhythm by attacking him. Just like in this example, each company must find its own space, highlight its strengths, and attack competitors’ weak points.
The Super Bowl is the biggest night in the American sports world and is watched by 200 million people worldwide. Be sure to watch the 53rd Super Bowl game this February to see what more companies can learn from football. Maybe Patriots have other lessons in their pocket!