Your Office is a Super Bowl

Organizational leadership Teamwork


Put on your uniform and play tomorrow!

What’s your Super Bowl pick? Steelers or Packers? Like great sports teams, organizations must be great as a system! What position do you play on your team?  What impact do you have? Should you get a new contract? Get traded? Get cut loose?

As a former executive for a professional sports team, I’ve recognized that running a great sports franchise and any organization is very similar.  The real difference in the world of sports is that in sports/entertainment, the “product” is very visible to the public in tangible and emotional ways. The end result for the team is very clear because there is only one winner at the end of the season.  For most businesses, profit and market share is one measure of winning, but of course the emotional attachment to fans is usually not a factor (although customer attachment is hugely important).

But anyone in sports is likely to tell you that developing a winning team involves more than great talent on the field or in the arena. In the same way organizations cannot win with just a super sales team alone.  In sports the people looking after equipment, the medical/training team, the communications folks, the operations people, and ticket sales; every position in every department must be great. And in organizations, the performance of every person and department makes a big difference to the ultimate commercial and market success.  The sales team can’t sell without superb products and excellent delivery from the service department.

That’s why it is so hard for sports teams to win and repeat championships, and for organizations to stay on top. Being consistently great is much more than getting the best talent. Yet teams like the Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Yankees, Lakers, Canadiens, Manchester United, etc. (you pick ’em) win consistently year in and year out because anyone who plays any role understands the purpose and wears the “brand” with passion. A winning sports club or company represents a system that drives consistent success by numerous metrics; championships the most obvious.

  • Action: While you and I will likely never play on a professional sports team, we do play a key role on a team if we work in any organization. My belief is that if we thought of ourselves as “suiting up” to play every day, we and our organizations would perform at a higher level.  I also think we would have more fun.

As an example, The Pittsburgh Steelers football franchise, whether you like them or not, represent a tough, grind it out, hard nosed game. They are not about finesse. They run right at you and grind out every yard. My guess is that they act like that in every aspect of the franchise. What kind of team do you play for? What does your brand represent? What kind of player are you? How do your team mates play? Could you “play” in the Steelers’ system?

Play and win in the Triangle,