Patriots Offer Lesson In Teambuilding
Rick Dacri, Dacri & Associates, LLC
Football season is just about upon us and many of us are thinking about
another Super Bowl championship. One doesnít have to be very old to
remember when the Super Bowl and the New England Patriots were names
that were not said in the same sentence. The Packers, Cowboys,
Steelers, 49ers were champions, but New England? Yet after three
titles, we have come to expect a championship every year.
How did we get this way? Scott Pioli, who is the Patriots VP of Player
Personnel shed the teamís secret in a recent interview. He and Coach
Bill Belichick have a philosophy that they will always build a team
that competes for a championship. This is not a short term philosophy
of win this year and worry about next year later, but a philosophy of
winning now, while always keeping an eye on the future. A big part of
this philosophy is talent acquisition. Pioliís job is to get the talent
for the coach.
The talent they go after is special. It is talent that fits with the
Patriotís belief system. Once assembled, the coach must then build a
culture in the locker room that is in line with the philosophy of the
organization. The culture of the locker room is key and everyone must
buy into their overriding philosophy.
Belichick believes that the best players are going to play now, but
that the team is always developing their players to be ready to play
whenever they are needed. In a highly physical sport like football,
players must always be ready to play.
Each player understands his job and his role. The team looks for
competitive players who are mentally tough and who embrace the teamís
philosophy. Players who do not share this philosophy go. The Patriotís
goal is simple: build a cohesive team because teams win championships.
So what can we learn from the Patriots? Four key points:
1. Organizations must have an overriding philosophy to guide them in
how they operate their business.
2. All employees need to buy into this philosophy and hiring decisions
must be based in part on whether the candidate can adhere to this
philosophy. Any employee, new or current, who does not embrace the
philosophy, must go.
3. All employees know their jobs and the roles they play in the
4. The managerís job is to put together the best available team for
today, while simultaneously preparing for the future.
While the Patriots may seemingly have an endless supply of talent who
want to play pro football, most employers do not. All of us are faced
with a labor shortage and the problem will only get worse. The baby
boomers, who make up a significant percentage of our workforce, are
beginning to prepare for retirement and there are few workers who are
ready to step in. One of my clients commented on some of her recent
retirements by saying it is like watching history go out the door. Her
employees are getting older and she questions who will be there is 5
Faced with a critical labor shortage, many employers are hoping that if
they raise wages they may be able to fix the problem in the short term.
However, getting into a bidding war is a fight most cannot win. There
will always be someone bigger, with deeper pockets who will win this
game. And frankly, hoping is not a good business strategy. The only way
to avert a crisis is to start doing things differently. Recruiting the
same old ways, hoping to find candidates in the same labor pool in
which everyone else is fishing, will not result in more candidates.
Your recruitment must be strategic. The types of candidates you are
looking for and the places you will find them will require
nontraditional approaches. Working with fewer, more skilled workers is
part of the answer. Efficiencies and technology are also key.
Focus your efforts on developing your talent. Organizations should
realize that developing their talent through work experiences and
development programs are more likely to keep their peopleóand thatís a
better alternative than becoming the farm club for other organizations.
Employers are faced with a critical challenge. At a time when there are
fewer people entering the workforce, organizations have more people
preparing to retire. The time to take proactive steps to address this
crisis is now.
Begin the process by identifying the key positions in your organization
and then assessing whether you currently have the talent internally.
Implement initiatives to develop your people. Create a bench. If you
donít have the talent, begin plans to find the talent on the outside.
And lastly, take care of your high potential employees to ensure that
they remain with you.
Remember, the Patriotís philosophy of developing a team that can win
today, while always preparing for the future, has proven to be quite
successful. It works.
Dacri is a human resource consultant, featured speaker at regional and
national conferences, and author of the book ďUncomplicating
Management: Focus On Your Stars & Your Company Will Soar.Ē
Since 1995 his firm, Dacri & Associates has helped
organizations improve individual and organizational performance. Rick
connects with people in a positive and challenging way to offer
practical solutions. He can be reached at 207-967-0837, or via email at