Things are heating up in Minnesota where big NFL names have arrived in anticipation of the 52nd Super Bowl, which will be played Sunday at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is causing a media stir for being uncharacteristically talkative, smiling more than usual and getting off the team plane wearing a fedora which once belonged to his father. And who knew (before this week) that Tom Brady's mother was born and raised in Minnesota and the legendary quarterback grew up spending his summers and some winters there visiting family?
Historically, the media hasn't focused on such frivolity. Lately, the big story--penned by ESPN--has focused on the alleged "serious disagreements" between Belichick, Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, supposedly revolving around Brady's personal trainer, the team's QB plans and Belichick's coaching style. Regardless, the team's rate and span of winning is unprecedented and despite whatever drama may be true or untrue, a lot can be learned from how Brady and Belichick conduct themselves together. That's according to Alan Jagnandan, managing director of sales, for staffing, recruiting and culture firm LaSalle Network. Here are his words on what they have to teach on getting ahead in business and life.
1. A strong work ethic attracts attention.
Tom Brady entered the NFL after a prestigious career at the winningest college football program in history at 22 years old. What people forget is that he was overlooked by almost every NFL team falling to the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the draft. This humble start to his career put the world's largest chip on his shoulder. While he had worked hard to accomplish a lot at Michigan, it all started over when he started his career as a professional. If he took things for granted as the third string quarterback, it was very possible he'd be cut and be out of a job, so Tom knew he had to work harder than everyone else in order to stand out to head coach, Bill Belichick. The work ethic he brought in on day one caught Bill's eye as he was known as one of the hardest-working coaches in the league.
Life lesson: Managers gravitate towards and respect those who have strong work ethics and execute on their plan. Employees who work really hard and go the extra mile every day, instill confidence in their manager so that when an opportunity presents itself (i.e. an injury to their Pro Bowl starter in week two of the season), they trust you to be put on the assignment and deliver for the organization.
2. It's important to understand the big picture.
Tom Brady doesn't just put in extra time off the field to build relationships with his teammates, he came in early and stayed late to grab the eyes and ears of the other coaches. Because Tom spends time with the different coaches (offensive and defensive coordinators, the running back and receivers coaches, etc.), he better understands how the organization and team as a whole works together. When he understands each player's strengths and the foundation of what the team wants to do as a whole, he can better help them execute on the field. This instills further confidence with Belichick.
Life lesson: When employees spend time with business leaders to better understand the goals and strategy of the company, and spend time with colleagues outside of "work hours" to understand each person's role, they are getting a big-picture view of the organization and can make a bigger impact as a result. Managers and business executives take note of this initiative and respect the extra effort to learn and help the company grow.
3. In the end, egos need to be pushed aside.
Tom Brady has never been pegged as one that has an ego (Unless of course you're a NY Jets or Giants fan, in which case that's just willful blindness). Tom's in the limelight because it comes with the territory, not because he necessarily wants it.
Life lesson: When you're humble and put in the work because you love the sport (or job), you gain respect from the coach and build a stronger relationship as a result. If you're the loudest person in the room without anything to show for it, you're missing the boat, and probably irritating your manager and losing the respect of your teammates.
4. You need to trust a good process even when it looks like things are falling apart.
Even when they had rough stretches through the past decade of their QB and coach relationship, Tom always trusted the process set forth by Bill. This season was a microcosm of that as the team looked like they were falling apart, losing two of their first three home games. However, by sticking to the process, they got through it and are heading to their record ninth Super Bowl appearance this Sunday.
Life lesson: Business is no different. If you have a bad quarter, trust the process set forth by your manager, communicate with your teammates, and you'll be back on track for a strong year. If Tom had an ego and didn't trust the process, going rogue and making his own calls, the relationship would have dissolved. Same is true in the workplace, if you fall in love with the process, the process will fall in love with you.
5. Winners want to be pushed and hear about their faults.
Even when he's at his best, Tom wants to be pushed. He wants to hear where he's lacking. He wants to know how he can improve. He is eager to be better than he was the day before.
Life lesson: Being vulnerable and acknowledging where you think there is room to improve, and having that candid conversation with your manager will build a more genuine, respectful relationship. Great employees want to hear bad news and take it as constructive feedback, otherwise you won't know your flaws.