SUPER BOWL SERIES | PART FOUR | TEAM & PROPER GOAL ORIENTATION
There’s no doubt we here at Excellent Cultures have been excited about the Seahawks Super Bowl win. It’s been something we’ve waited for all of our lives! But the culture that brought the Lombardi trophy to Seattle isn’t new here, in fact it began when Paul Allen bought the team in 1997, and the most noticed addition came when Pete Carroll was signed on in 2010.
We’ve been tracking them the entire time and this series highlights what we’ve learned.
READ LAST FOUR POSTS HERE:
Culture of Seattle’s 12th Man
The Seahawks Super Bowl Winning Culture | Part One | Fun is a By-Product not a Goal
The Seahawks Super Bowl Winning Culture | Part Two | Confidence Vs. Arrogance
The Seahawks Super Bowl Winning Culture | Part Three | Positive Competition & Relationships
We once interviewed a world-class triathlete on our weekly Biz Culture Matters Radio Show. Tim O’Donnell told us that his background at the Naval Academy and as an officer in the US Navy taught him how to compete at a world-class level in triathlon. Tim shared that the Navy taught him to prioritize his actions according to ship, shipmates and then self. In other words, put the overall team first followed by his teammates and then himself. He also shared a few experiences of how serving his team members and placing them above himself empowered his own performance to greater levels of excellence. Wait a minute, triathlon is an individual sport. If you give the other guys a break, then you finished second. Well, this guy had a different philosophy. He truly believed that serving his fellow US teammates in world competitions actually made him perform better and it worked for him.
Any sports fan or casual observer doesn’t have to look too deep to figure out that the Hawks have operationalized this philosophy in the NFL. Listening to how they speak of their competitors with respect, watching how Coach Carroll greets opposing coaches after the game and most of all observing how they sacrifice for each other on the field identifies this attitude.
You can always spot a lousy culture by how they respond in a crisis. They run to silos to solve the problem instead of huddles. Great cultures run to their teammates in a crisis and win over silos on most every occasion.
PROPER GOAL ORIENTATION
Every high performance team sets and achieves goals. At Excellent Cultures we measure this attitude and behavior in organizations all the time. The big difference between great cultures and mediocre cultures lies in why goals are set, who sets them and level and timing of focus on these goals.
Mediocre cultures have no goals or they have goals set at the top and then forced down. Great cultures engage everyone on the team in the process of setting and achieving goals and have the ability to pull all of the individual goals and the energy generated by them together into one common focus. Listening to each of the Hawks talk about their focus on specific individual as well as team goals makes it obvious that these guys are all about having everyone all in. The 12th man even has an “all in” T-shirt. How much more obvious can this culture element be?
Naïve cultures get all caught up in the emotion of the big long-term goal and lose focus on the individual steps that it takes to get there. So you hear all about the hoopla of getting to the Super Bowl and all the energy is spent there while losing focus on this week’s regular season game. In listening to the Hawks, it’s obvious that there’s always total focus on this week’s regular season game as the priority and then the next and the next.
Finally, naïve goal setters set shallow goals like “Getting to the Super Bowl” instead of “Winning It.” Thus all the energy gets spent getting there and then they go flat and stop short of the ultimate victory. World-class Triathlete Tim O’Donnell told us on our radio show that he always focused on his energy level after winning the race rather than getting to the finish. When you watch the video of his finishes, this is apparent. While those who finish behind him collapse exhausted after crossing the finish line, Tim appears to still have plenty of energy to accept his medal and chat with the media. It’s quite apparent that the long-term goal focus of this team was NOT “to make it to the Super Bowl” but the joy of “WINNING IT.” So when they got to Met Life Stadium, their energy was high, they played their best game of the year, beat the so-called best quarterback and offense in the league and had a full out blast doing it. Fun is not a corporate value. It’s the result of a great culture. Go Hawks!!