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Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 1
Issue 2

Business Lessons from the Patriots

If you are like more than 100 million other people, on Feb. 1 you watched an amazing Super Bowl game. Whether or not you're a fan all season or just during the play-offs, you couldn't help being impressed with the performance of the New England Patriots.

Now mind you, I know very little about football. I can never quite understand how some big guy running with the ball is tackled by 10-12 just as big players while somebody is running down the field with the ball seconds later. Despite my lack of brilliance around the game of football, it was quite clear to me that strategy, attitude and fortitude have worked together to produce a winning team. So many of the elements I watched and read about after the win have direct application to the business world. Both coaches and CEOs have some of the same challenges. Let's look at how Coach Bill Belichick handled them and how these elements can work for you.

Team work.

The Patriots eat, breathe and live by the "team" philosophy. Though individual contributors are recognized, it is the whole group working together that gets the job done. At the beginning of each game the players are introduced as a team rather than as individuals. Star quarterback Tom Brady never steals all the credit for himself, his humbleness sets the tone for all. His attitude makes the team stronger, earning him respect from teammates rather than jealousy.

In businesses, a well-run team can get so much accomplished. However, the team members must truly function as a team. They need to share the blame and the credit for the outcome. Teams also need good leaders who build the group around the strength of each member's skills.

It's the about the fans.

The coach and players always thank the fans. Then Coach Belichick takes it a step further by requiring each team member to give back to the community by attending ten charity events per season. If the fans didn't support the team during the 42 year dry spell as well as during the recent winning years, there wouldn't have been that great spirit driving its success. Fans were rewarded in a personal way during victory celebrations after the win by shaking hands with players and touching the trophy. What a way to develop loyalty!

You are in business for and because of your fans - your customers. In looking for new business opportunities, existing customers are often forgotten. That is a big mistake. Engage your customers, value them and involve them in getting new business. Thank them with personal contact, special offers and valuable information. Like the Patriots, make giving back to the community in some way part of your corporate culture.

Never look back.

Coach Belichick's philosophy and style is to recognize what went wrong in the last game, point it out to the team and move on. His focus is to look forward to the next challenge and be well prepared.

By concentrating too much on what went wrong versus how to do it better, your eye is not on the ball. While looking back will inhibit your company's growth, forward thinking is a key success factor.

Expect a lot but be fair.

The Patriot's coach is known for providing the kind of culture that expects hard work while being fair to players and their needs.

Your employees, whether making $10 per hour or $250k per year, need a push plus the tools to reach their potential. At the same time they need to feel valued. This kind of business culture keeps motivation high.

Balance strategy with tactics.

Though the Patriots' long-term goal was the Super Bowl, they played one game at a time. Focusing on each game as the job at hand brought 14 consecutive pre-Super Bowl wins. Those wins brought them to their long-term goal - winning the Super Bowl. Often in a game, the quarterback needs to make a quick decision to change tactics mid-stream. Those changes are critical to winning the game or reaching the short-term goal.

Your business needs to have both long-term vision and strategy to reach its goals. However, staying focused on the tactics required to get there is important. Companies that do not have a clear focus on the tasks at hand will surely miss meeting objectives. They are likely to make a touch down for the wrong team. Be flexible to make those necessary quick changes that get you back on track, always keeping the big picture in mind.

May your business be a winner! If you enjoyed this e-zine, please pass it on to others.

Thanks,

Ellen

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