More Lesson’s From Bill Belichick and the Patriots

Randy Moss has been released from Minnesota Vikings.  Bill Belichick is looking like a genius right now.  The Patriots got a 3rd round pick and freed up some money, while Minnesota spent a draft pick and their team is no better for it.   What is more impressive than the Patriots and Bellichick knowing it was time to trade Moss, was the discipline they have in being willing to trade today for tomorrow.  It’s impressive.  It’s a trait lacking in the sales and business world.

The New England Patriots were the team of the decade, 3 SuperBowl wins in 4 trips.   Like most teams of the decade they should be on the decline as the superstars get older.  It doesn’t look like that is the case with the Patriots.  Why?  The Patriots have taken calculated risks in letting go of their aging players a little early in exchange for future draft picks.  In essence, the Patriots trade one or two good years in an aging star for the ability to draft 10 plus years of a young new player.   They trade a little today, for a lot tomorrow.

The approach seems to be working.  The Pats have the best record in football.  The defense has no one left on it from the undefeated season and is made up of 5 rookies.  With the exception of Brady and Wes Welker, there are no superstars on offense.   Come this spring the Pats have 7 draft picks in the first 4 rounds, two in the first, two in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth.  That’s almost like having two drafts in one year.  The Patriots are only getting better.  They are positioning themselves to do something no team has done in the NFL — be the “Team of the Decade” in back to back decades.

The Pats future success will come from one thing, their willingness to operate with the future in mind.   The Pat’s play football chess looking multiple gambits ahead.

Sales and business in general can learn a lot from this.   In most situations organizations are too focused on the here and now.  We make concessions to get money in today, at the expense of tomorrow.  We keep toxic superstars, because we’re afraid to lose the revenue, only to pay the price later.   We don’t tell customers we can’t help them today, to get their business tomorrow.  We cut employees and productivity to meet today’s EPS (earnings per share), or earnings goals at the expense of tomorrows.   Today over tomorrow seems to have always been the credo of  business.  Yet, there are always those companies with the discipline to see down the road, to take their licks NOW, to suck it up, absorb the pain and come out the back end better and stronger rather than pro-long the inevitable.  The sales teams and companies who have the discipline to say, “We can’t win it this year,” let’s make it happen next year aren’t quitters, they are realists.  What is even more ironic is those with this attitude rarely fall as far, as they see it coming, don’t run from it, and make the changes to get back to success sooner.  They target their efforts NOT on preventing the decline but rather on coming out of it.

It takes discipline, insight, accountability, ownership, commitment and most importantly courage to operate this way.   For those who can muster up these traits the rewards are endless.

Decline and failure are inevitable.   They are going to happen.  The key isn’t avoiding them or pretending they won’t happen, but minimizing the fall and maximizing the rise and the Patriots seem to understand this better than most.

What about your organization?

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