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.


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?





Too Little Too Late for Apple? Maybe Worse…

Amid the excitement and chaos surrounding the release of the iPhone 5, many customers noticed that there were some problems with their brand new devices. Issues ranged from strange noises coming from the device to “leaking light.” ‘Whenever a new product is released by any company, it is never going to be perfect the first time around. However  as we have seen with CEO Tim Cook, customer satisfaction is king.

When customers complained about the new “Maps” app that replaced the Google Maps app, Tim Cook wasted no time writing a letter apologizing to customers. So it makes sense that when customers complained about Apple’s newest release, the iPhone 5, Tim Cook called for stronger quality control. But was what he asked for too much?

At the Foxconn production plant, workers, many from the quality control section, have gone on strike. From the China Labor Watch, we hear, “factory management and Apple, despite design defects, raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers. With such demands, employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard.” Obviously, when it becomes impossible to do your job, strike is imminent. These standards led to fights among workers and quality control inspectors which ultimately halted production at times. This will delay shipments for iPhones for weeks.

The question I raise is how important is quality control? In my opinion, if Apple had shown more care about the quality of the design in the first place, then perhaps Apple wouldn’t have had to raise their standards so high. If anything this whole ordeal shows the importance of quality control from the beginning. Apple was most likely relying on the strength of their brand name and felt that strong quality control was not as important as getting as many iPhones out in a short amount of time to meet the record setting demand. And maybe they were right. The iPhone 5 had one of the biggest releases in smart phone history. People camped out for days just to get their hands on one. And even though there have been numerous complaints about the design, many are still lining up to get the phone. The other day I went to the Apple store to get my phone (the 3Gs) repaired and asked about the iPhone 5 because I was thinking about purchasing one. They told me they were out and had no idea when the shipments were going to come in because the employee described the deliveries as “random.”

So back to my original question. How important is quality control? One piece of data that I would like to see is out of all these people who complained about the phone, how many actually returned the phone? Apple possesses one of the strongest brand names with large amounts of customer loyalty. I would also be interested to hear how many people would take an iPhone 5 now that leaks a little light than an iPhone 5 that is perfect in five weeks. I’m sure the data would shock us all as many people prefer immediate gratification as opposed to high quality.

I would like to hear your thoughts on whether you believe in the highest quality control standards in relation to the phone or whether you believe that Apple should start churning out these phones like hot cakes and drop the price.