NFL Playbook to Corporate Culture

Pete CarrollAlthough there are variables to every industry and organization, employee engagement is largely contributed to social connections created throughout the workplace, which is an enormous driver to productivity. Healthy company culture creates higher employee retention, motivation, and commitment to the overall organization and its future.

Last year’s Superbowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks, were by no means an overnight success. Head coach, Pete Carroll’s list of accomplishments come with controversy; however, it’s hard to not to take note especially since he’s won championships on both an NFL and NCAA level. Love him or hate him, his cutthroat management style can give us all a brief lesson on successful employee management and the importance of corporate culture.

Within Coach Carroll’s first year, he completely reorganized the Seahawks with 502 transactions. In a business perspective, these transactions take the form of layoffs, terminations and new hires. He was able to recognize that not only did poor performers need to be removed, but those who allowed an environment of poor performance needed to go as well. Reports have shown that poor performers have detrimental affects on productivity, because not only are they not upholding company standards, but they also influence coworkers with their bad habits. It’s difficult to implement massive organizational shakeups but, simply recognizing when cuts need to be implemented can be the determinant between creating a winning or losing team.

Unsurprisingly, decisions such as these are often difficult and unpopular. Last month, Percy Harvin, who contributed to the 2014 Superbowl win with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, was traded to the Jets. Although Harvin has had a lackluster performance this season, this mid-season trade still took many by surprise. It was later revealed the main objective behind the trade was due to Harvin’s anger management issues, which caused physical altercations with teammates and prevented him from fully fitting in with the team. Despite his contributions, the organization knew it was best to part ways.

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Just as important as letting go weak links or those who are not a culture fit, retaining talent is also a vital contribution to an organization’s success. There’s no question that this is the reason why the highest salaries in the NFL are granted to quarterbacks who not only throw the most touchdowns, but also limit turnovers. Translating back to the business world, this shows that organizations must be able to recognize management achievement by rewarding and compensating accordingly. When managers are able to create a framework that creates great corporate culture, it not only creates durability for long-term success, but it opens the doors for new organizational opportunities.

How important do you think corporate culture is within the workplace?

Do you think strategies such as Coach Carroll’s are too drastic to apply to an organization whether big or small?

Do you see any other strategies organizations can borrow from the NFL?

 

 

Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-sephton/an-nfl-guide-to-employee-_b_5683400.html
http://www.forbes.com/sites/sylviavorhausersmith/2013/08/14/how-the-best-places-to-work-are-nailing-employee-engagement/
http://www.si.com/nfl/2014/10/18/seahawks-percy-harvin-trade-jets-golden-tate#

 

8 thoughts on “NFL Playbook to Corporate Culture

  1. This post was well thought out and I enjoyed reading it. It was great how you linked football back to the workplace. Many people are not keen when it comes to restructuring the organization, believing at the end of the day it makes no difference, but by relating it to football we see the greater good of the company and how this one major change caused them to win the Superbowl. Coach Carroll’s mission was to eliminate those who did not contribute to the success of the team. If they physically did not contribute, their values were not aligned with the team which is why they were laid off. I think it was a bold move to fire so many people in a single year, but from this act we see that it caused the team to win the Superbowl. By hiring employees that shared his same drive and mission they became a great organization.I think this should be done for all organizations. There is no point in having people that do not share your same passion and drive, it only brings down the other members.

  2. As a sports management major this is a post I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I think corporate culture within the workplace is important and really agree with the whole post and can post many points this happened. One such time is during the 2001-2002 Oakland Raiders that went to the Super Bowl. In between the 01-02 seasons, owner Al Davis made the biggest mistake of his career by firing John Gruden. Gruden like Carroll’s coaching style was his cutthroat management style, if a player did not work hard, or accept less than 110% they were cut. But with the firing of Gruden in 2001, Gruden technically led 2 teams to the superbowl the previous year, his Oakland Raiders from the previous year and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers whom he won the superbowl with in 2002. As a season ticket holder during those year I understand the power of a great head coach and when it comes to these decisions I do not think this is enough. I think that there must be a pass fail on the NFL IQ test, at least for players wanting to come out of college early. Reason being that in that transition from college to the NFL most players do not become great players, but those who do are generally more intelligent players.

  3. Corporate culture is incredibly important within the workplace. If people do not follow the mission and values of your company, then nobody else will. This NFL example is great. Since Pete Carroll believes that corporate culture is so important within his organization, and one of his players, no matter how skilled he was, did not believe in that corporate culture, so he decided to let him go. I think it is a great example of how important values are within the workplace, especially one that makes as much money as the NFL. I think it is a great aspect and other teams should really follow the model of not only trying to win football games and be successful, but also maintain the values set forth by the coach. It is not just about winning games, and could easily be applied universally.

  4. Great post and timely, considering Percy Harvin was traded a matter of weeks ago. I think corporate culture is tremendously important. I have taken numerous accounting courses, one dealing with internal audit, which focused on corporate culture. Many of the examples we looked at (i.e. Enron, HealthSouth, etc…) had a poor track record in corporate culture, and the final results show this. Ultimately, the corporate culture is set by the tone at the top of the organization. It seems that Pete Carroll and the higher level execs of the Seahawks have set a good tone and back up their talk with actions. With the amount of bad publicity sports teams have gotten recently they could learn a lesson from Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.

  5. I really liked this post, it was interesting to compare the NFL to a corporation because we always here how, “it’s a business”. I did want to point out that Pete Carroll does not have championship-level wins on the NCAA and NFL level (2004 was stripped due to NCAA sanctions). However, disregarding his tenure with the Patriots, he has done very well so far in the NFL. Completely revamping their defense into, what might be, one of the best defenses we have ever seen. His QB, who is by no means overly talented, has an astounding record because of the system that was built by Carroll. So far, it reminds me of the Spurs in a sense. What’s even more interesting is where Jay Cutler would fall on that list. I’m curious, because I know he is paid to be near the top of the chart but I’m not sure where his DYAR is.

  6. I liked this post, rarely do you see a post (or article) that gets to the business management or team management side of the NFL. It seems more people are interested in watching games and complaining when their team loses rather than trying to figure out what really goes into making a good team. Company culture seems to be important as it gives a reference point to anyone new entering the organization or people looking to continue their work there. I would imagine that some companies do have strict standards and it may benefit them.

  7. Like other commentators have said, it’s interesting to think about the NFL as a business. Most of the times we see it as just a game that we watch for entertainment but in reality it is probably one of the most cut throat businesses in the world. I think corporate culture is important and just like other businesses it is important in the NFL. If a negative corporate culture is in place the effects could last generations. The NFL has had a history of domestic violence and only until recently have they addressed this issue. I believe that covering things up to to protect their image was in their culture but to their credit they are putting much effort into changing this.

  8. Pete Carroll’s approach was evidently game changing for the Seahawks organization; what I find really important to note is the trust the organization had in their new coach. I believe it’s important to create the right environment for a new leader to thrive, and with an eccentric man like Pete Carroll, giving him the opportunity to lead his team how he saw fit was the most important piece to the puzzle. This could transfer into the work place well if the owners of the organization look to shy away from stagnation; it’s a gutsy move but if you want change the organization has to commit 100% to a new way of doing business.

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