Leadership Lessons from the New England Patriots

First, congratulations to the New England Patriots – Super Bowl XLIX Champions. What a win! I’m thrilled for my home team, for Boston and for the state of Massachusetts.   I’ve been following the Patriots and the numerous stories leading up to the Super Bowl, but not for the reasons you may think. I’m not a die-hard football fan. Sorry, please save the hate mail (LOL). My fascination with the Patriots has more to do with leadership. As an entrepreneur and speaker, I routinely look for examples that I can use to inspire clients and audiences. Here are three leadership take-ways from the Patriots and my interpretation:

  • Do Your Job. By now you’ve probably heard Belichick philosophy paraphrased as “do your job.” When Belichick addressed a group of financial advisors in June 2011, he drew parallels to business and coaching: ‘In business things change quickly in your profession and in ours. There are always new people and new environments.’ To stay competitive, Belichick said that everyone must do their part: ‘We need to all do our job,’ he added. He has repeated this philosophy in other forums. It seems so straight forward, yet leaders often are distracted by the crisis of the day, the drama of the hour and other interferences. Mastery of ones job, requires practice, stamina, resilience and laser-like focus. Just recently the Patriots have been bombarded with news inquiries, media coverage and persistent questioning regarding “Deflate Gate.” While everyone else seemed to be distracted by the media circus, the team under Belichick’s leadership remained focused on getting the job done and indeed they did! This brings me to my next observation:

  • Stay Focused on the Goal. In football and in life, its difficult to stay focused if you have no vision for yourself or your team. What are you trying to accomplish? Where are you going? What inspires you to jump out of bed in the morning? For the Patriots, the goal was crystal clear: The Super Bowl Championship. The team maintained a “no excuses” focus. They did not succumb to the intense scrutiny of naysayers, doubters, haters, but instead, continued to exercise the discipline that has led to their greatness. Some may think that they got lucky. Was ‘The Butler Surprise’ a lucky break? Perhaps it was or maybe because Malcolm Butler and Tom Brady believed deeply in the team and their vision, they actively looked for an opportunity to realize the dream. The team was consistent and persistent. They did not accept defeat. They kept hope alive! This brings us to my third leadership lesson:
  • Never Give Up.   Achievement of the dream requires consistent persistence. The journey is filled with potholes, roadblocks, accidents, and in the case of the Patriots, lots of gating factors (pun intended). The leadership parallels are pretty clear. You will fail, crisis is inevitable, you will have detractors, but you must not give up! It’s okay to fall, but you must get up, you must regain momentum in order to press on towards to the goal line. As you do so, always be on the look out for opportunities to accelerate your game. The outcome for the Patriots would have been very different if they focused on the circumstances around them. Instead they stayed focused on the goal and good leaders must too. Rest if you must, but never give up!

Juliette Mayers is President & CEO, Inspiration Zone LLC, a firm specializing in consulting, branding and thought leadership. www.inspirationzonellc.com.  She is the author of “A Black Woman’s Guide to Networking” and a speaker on a variety of leadership topics.