SUPER BOWL SERIES | PART THREE | POSITIVE COMPETITION & RELATIONSHIPS
Part two of this Super Bowl Culture series highlighted the importance of humility and confidence, as well as the destructiveness of arrogance. Whether you’ve been converted as a Hawks fan and joined the cult of the 12th MAN is not our greatest concern, we will begrudgingly keep our wagon open to the bandwagon fan. But our greatest desire is to help you be a culture change agent. Pete Carroll and John Schneider as just the most prominent examples of Excellent Culture that we can point to right now.
READ LAST THREE 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 | Positive Competition & Relationships
One doesn’t have to spend much time watching the Hawks play to discover how voraciously competitive they are, especially the Legion of Boom Defense. Yet in listening to Coach Carroll and his players speak of this intense competition and looking deep, you discover that this is not the typical “crush the other guys to show what studs we are” kind of bravado competitive spirit. It’s more about competing against yourself, your teammates and other great teams to bring the greatness out of themselves. When interviewed about facing the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, defensive back Kam Chancellor, joyfully and enthusiastically responded about how excited he was to play such a great team because of the level of greatness he expected the Broncos to pull out of himself and his teammates.
Great cultures have this type of competition at the root of all they do. It’s all about being the best that they can possibly be and seeing competition as the vehicle to bring this about. Contrast this with the sneaky corporate, dog-eat-dog, political back-stabbing that we see in so many highly competitive businesses and you’ll discover a true secret to the great culture that the Seahawks demonstrate on the field and off.
Superior Teams are Built on High Quality Relationships
General Manager John Schneider: “Early on Pete and I decided that our goal was to have the best relationship between any head coach and general manager in the NFL.”
Relationships? This is the NFL not Dr. Phil. In listening to Schneider speak candidly to a group of local Seattle corporate CEOs recently; he amazed many of these successful business leaders with comments like this. One doesn’t have to listen long to John to feel the truth and humility behind this secret to building and sustaining a culture of true high performance.
The most significant lever in the performance of any culture is the way in which its leaders lead. Gallup’s recent employee engagement poll indicated that 18% of employees hate their jobs and the most common cause of this phenomena is hating their bosses.
Other research on US leaders pegs 70% of leaders creating defensive behavior in their followers by the manner in which they lead. So out of every 100 leaders, 70 are frustrating their followers rather than engaging, empowering or motivating them. The saddest note to this statistic is that these 70 leaders actually believe that they are doing a great job of leading. They have no idea of the negative impact that their leadership is causing and are clueless of what to do to correct the problem. When they say “let’s set goals for the new year,” their people hear “he’s going to change our comp plans again” and respond accordingly. Then these leaders become frustrated because their people are risk avoidant, set low, safe goals and lack the passion to even achieve these meaningless targets. Contrast this with the “play all out, leaving it all on the field, joyfully giving 110% that you see when the Hawks play and you’ll start to capture the wisdom of John Schneider and Pete Carroll. Have these guys truly cracked the code with respect to the value of the relationships that exist between leaders and leaders, leaders and players and players and players and the connection to high performance?
Abraham Lincoln once noted that “If someone gave me eight hours to chop a pile of wood, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.” Why do so many leaders spend so many hours chopping the wood of day-to-day activity instead of sharpening the axe of the relationships that exist between themselves and those who they value the most and rely on the most for true success? Have Schneider and Carroll figured this one out? One might expect by the performance of their young and inexperienced team that they have.