The New England Patriots are poised to win their fourth Super Bowl in seven years. Although it may be early to describe the team as a dynasty, they are clearly doing something right. Those of you who have read Fired Up or Burned Out or attended our E Pluribus Partners presentations or workshops know that great teams create Connection Cultures. The Patriots are no exception.
Our model for sustainable superior performance holds that it requires Task Excellence + Relationship Excellence that comes from a Connection Culture. Bill Belichick is a task excellence master through and through. He has probably devised more metrics dashboards than a hard core General Electric Six Sigma Black Belt. The guy’s passion for excellence is off the charts. When it comes to Relationship Excellence, however, I’m not so sure. He seems a bit curmudgeonish.
And that’s where Tom Brady comes in, he’s the Relationship Excellence guy and Task Excellence guy to boot. When Sports Illustrated named Brady “Sportsman of the Year” in 2005, it commented that “his greatest achievement grows out of a “generosity of spirit.” He’s always pumping his teammates up with encouragement, giving knuckle fives and head butts. Brady stunned the sports world in 2005 when he accepted a contract that was nearly $40 million below market so that his teammates could stay together. Who wouldn’t love a teammate like that? Peter King, the Sports Illustrated writer, wrote he had never seen anything like it in his 16 year career, and “if you think that plays well in the locker room, you’re right.” When Visa wanted Brady to do a television advertisement, he said he would pass unless it included his offensive line. You get the idea.
In summary, Task Excellence + Relationship Excellence = Sustainable Superior Performance or, if you’re a Patriots fan, you might say Belichick + Brady = Trouble for the Giants. (In the spirit of transparency, you should know that I’m a born and bred Chicago Bears fan.)
Post Note: As you know by now, the Giants defeated the Patriots in a nail biter Super Bowl. Post game analysis clearly shows that creating a more connected culture among the Giants helped. Take a look at this article entitled, “Tom Coughlin: Management style analysis,” and see if you can identify the Vision, Value and Voice elements of a Connection Culture.