…it takes character to keep you there. John Wooden, the late legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach once stated this in so many words.
Wooden’s observation came to mind when I read a New York Times‘ article today entitled “The Day the Patriots Empire Began to Crumble.” The article argued that the Patriot’s lost their lustre when its coach, Bill Belichick, was caught cheating.
Over the years, the leaders of the Patriots, Coach Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, did so many things right. I wrote about many of them in a chapter Fired Up or Burned Out. Belichick’s cheating, however, diminished one of the three elements of a Connection Culture: the element of “Vision.” The element of Vision exists when everyone in an organization is motivated by the mission, united by the values and proud of the reputation. Belichick’s cheating was not in keeping with the Patriot’s core values. It also tarnished the organization’s reputation. the cheating caused players and fans lost some of their respect for Belichick and the Patriots. They were not longer felt as proud to say they were members of the Patriots’ organization. Pride in one’s identity is emotional in nature and research shows that emotional connections are 4X as important as rational factors when it comes to the amount of effort people put in their work. The Patriots lost some of that emotional connection and as a result their players have not been as fired up as they once were.
Hopefully, Belichick learned a lesson and in time can gain back the connection, respect and trust he once had.