We watch it every year, but the game never gets old. Beginning in January, the season’s best NFL teams literally go head-to-head, competing for their respective conference titles and, ultimately, the Super Bowl Championship. It’s as American as the estimated 1.34 billion chicken wings consumed, and $1.3 billion spent on beer on Super Bowl weekend.
While only two teams survive to make it to this final faceoff, high-performing teams, both in the playoffs and the Super Bowl, tend to share certain characteristics. That’s something I learned from a man who knows a thing or two about building Super Bowl teams. A man who has built one of the greatest NFL dynasties. A man that is no stranger to winning Super Bowls as the New England Patriot’s general manager: Bill Belichick. I once had the opportunity to hear Belichick talk about the secret sauce he’s been able to concoct with Tom Brady and team. During an in-person event with him not long ago, many at this event had asked him what his secret to success was. How is he able to sit alone as the NFL’s only head coach to win five Super Bowl titles (and now fighting for his sixth)? How can something so difficult to accomplish become quasi-routine for him? His answer was simple yet powerful. It had nothing to do with the salary cap or the best individual talent. In a very nonchalant, Belichick-esque manner, he answered, “It’s about finding a team – finding individuals – who are willing to give it their all, even when it’s not convenient for them to do so.”
This hit me hard. The realization that the culture we create as leaders is as important, if not more, than the individual talentfound on any well-functioning team. It’s this mentality, this culture, within a team that makes winning possible. A defining characteristic for any exceptional team is that team’s ability to fight for each other and for a common purpose – even when it’s not convenient for them to do so. Because they understand they are pursuing something bigger than anyone one of them is individually capable of doing on their own.
Now think about the teams you trust explicitly for certain services in your own life. What about the financial advisor you rely on for advice? Is he or she serving you in the best way possible, by putting your interests first? Does he or she bring the full resources of a cohesive team to serving your needs?