The Blog

by Brandy O'Briant

Homerun Football

Anyone who knows me will find it shocking to see a blog post from me about football. I am the person who once thought my watch had stopped because it wasn’t keeping time with the clock on the scoreboard. An interception is what happens right before a home run, right?

So when one of the supes on the account team said she read an article about football that she thought I would like, I kind of rolled my eyes. People are forever trying to explain football to me with the evangelistic belief that if I just understood it, I would love it. I put them in the category of people who think that if I just meet their cat or look at enough cute cat photos on the internet, I will be a cat person. Football and cats. I don’t think so.

But, she was right. I liked the article. Actually, I loved the article because it wasn’t really about football as a sport. It was about Pete Carroll and the culture he’s brought to the Seahawks team. The article started with the constant stream of music playing around the Seahawks, in meetings, in the locker room, at practice. Hip-hop, classic rock, even a little “get down” with James Brown. Now, this I can get behind. I play music in the office. All kinds, all the time. It makes my day when someone like Melissa Figel says to me, ‘Good tunes today. I love that song.’

It wasn’t just the musical culture Pete Carroll brought that resonated with me. I also believe that the culture he is creating for the Seahawks is a culture for success, on the field, in business and in our personal lives. Make it real, make it fun, make it mean something. Read on for my Pete Carroll-inspired ways to build a winning team:

  • Give the credit away. No one is really successful without their teammates. Recognize it. Out loud. At C+F we have spontaneous awards like ‘Employee of the Moment’ or the ‘Find that Thing’ award. Instant recognition (and a little cash in the paycheck) reinforces the positive we see in our teams and encourages repeat performance.
  • Find the right people first. Then find them the right job. We have a set of seven cultural competencies that are just as important as the work itself. No matter how great your work is, you will never be successful here if you leave a trail of bodies behind you. We look for people who are…
    • Problem solvers
    • Cool under fire
    • Spirited
    • Team players
    • Lifelong learners
    • Accountable
    • Gritty (no, I don’t mean dirty or rough. I’m talking about those who stop at nothing to get the job done.)
  • Focus on what people can do instead of what they can’t do. Seattle’s roster is filled with examples like this. (Or so I read.) If we want you here, we will find the right role for you that will bring your talents to light. We invest in the success of our people.
  • Have patience with the young players. Maturity and experience cannot be forced. They happen at their own pace and under the right conditions. Recognizing raw talent and taking the time to nurture and mold may take patience, but the pay-off makes it all worthwhile.
  • Hold people accountable. Competitive teams aren’t formed for knitting circles or quilting bees. They are formed to win. Everyone has to understand the goal and want it. Badly. It’s true that a team is as strong as its weakest link. Hold that link accountable or it will hold the team back.
  • Keep it real. The lesson I learn over and over again in my life is that success stems from authenticity. Be who you are. Believe what you believe. Do the best work you can. The rest will follow.