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Becoming a Successful Group, Team, or Organization

By Professor Pooch
© David J. Spangenberg

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Things we can learn from the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl - that Aren't Necessarily about Football! It's the keys to running any happy, successful group or organization. It won't take much translating to get the picture...

It's a fact that no one in their right mind thought at the beginning of this year that the Eagles would be anywhere near successful, perhaps maybe winning as much as they lost.

And then, on top of that, they started losing their top players for the rest of the season due to injuries "employed" in all 3 major departments – offense, defense, and special teams. Everyone believed they would go downhill fast from there.

(Note: By the way, almost everyone on the outside looked at the coach like they looked at the players, that he was "not qualified.")

But unlike what would happen to other teams in the same situation, a funny thing happened: the Eagles just kept winning and winning and winning, all the while they were losing 1 top player after another – and all the while replacing them with other team's "rejects", late round draft picks and undrafted players. Translation: no one wanted them.

A great picture of this became the play of the Super Bowl that will be remembered for many years to come: an undrafted player received the ball, shoveled the ball to an undrafted third string tight end, who threw a touchdown pass to a backup quarterback.]

And then they lost their overall Star & team leader (quarterback) to injury, and most of the rest of the public totally gave up on them – but they never gave up on themselves.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, and instead of believing as predicted, that they were expected to lose at each level of the playoffs, they won both playoff games and made the Super Bowl – and they won it over a team that has won it more times than any other team.

How? I'll list some of my thoughts on what helped them along the way to overcome diversity and prove the naysayers wrong, while making their organization successful, even under very poor circumstances:

But first: A professional football team, such as the Eagles, is made up of an Owner, some upper level executives, a general manager (or an equivalent position – one who basically chooses the employees), his staff, one head coach, about 12 assistant coaches, and 53 players ("workers").

The "Project Manager" (Head Coach), is the person in charge of making sure that the organization is productive with the help of the team members.

[Yes, a team needs a leader, because a democracy doesn't work, simply because the project must remain on course and decisions have to be made if the project is to successfully move forward.

Now let's say, you are starting or already working on a project, no matter what it is, and there are several or more people involved.

[Btw, DIY = Hobby – you Do need help along the way]

In no specific order...

- They had a unified purpose – to work hard and put out an excellent product – one they could be proud of and the public would accept.

- Just because someone says you're not good enough, it doesn't mean you have to accept that as a fact. Let their words set a spark under you! Remember, they can't see what you can feel...

- Coach treated the team members with respect - he let them know he believed in them.

- Coach let them offer suggestions, and he would listen to them, and took their suggestions seriously - instead of demanding of them, "my way or the highway!"

- Coaches looked for the individual's strengths and what made them most comfortable, that worked with the overall scheme, and often adjusted his schemes to them.

- Coach let everyone (even the "lesser players"), get a taste of working with the top team, so that they would be prepared if anything happened to the "starters" above them – which left them prepared to step in and take over.

- Everyone gave 110%, not wanting to let any of their teammates down.

- Team chemistry - General Manager (HR – Human Resources, & Howie Roseman :) ) picked the players for the Team. He made sure they not only fit in the role, but they would be people that would get along well with others. Chemistry was amazing between Everyone.

The players believed in themselves and in each other; all the Team Members Got along great on and off the field, with everyone looking out for each other.

- Instead of doing it just for themselves and their project, they were all focused on becoming successful for their fans.

- Instead of the injured players ignoring or harming their replacements, they did everything they could to help them be successful in their place.

- to keep you or a project successful along the way, you need "a purpose," that is, a reason to go right past any obstacles that may come into your path during the project term. Their purpose: to win it for "their brother team-members," and the city, who had never won a Super Bowl.

- They gave the customers (fans) what they wanted – the fans knew you worked hard and cared about the product.

A major problem that often occurs when you are dealing with any type of organization, especially ones in the arts and entertainment world – and sports, is entertainment: ego problems.

A funny sidelight of this, because none of the players expected to be treated as a star, none of them were concerned about the focus and attention being on "me", "me," "me", they each will end up becoming a legend.

They did it for themselves as a team, doing everything they could to help each other, both on a team and personal level. If the offense had a bad day, the defense or the special teams helped the other, and vice versa.

-Too many coaches don't play to win, they play "not to lose." That is, they are afraid to take risks. Remember the saying, "no risk, no gain?!" In actuality, it's like you learn in the game of chess: the best defense, is a great offense.

The coach didn't believe in "playing it safe," he took chances, for example, going forward on 4th down with 2 yards to go in his own territory. He could kick it away and play it safe but then it's handling the ball over to the other quarterback.

Instead, if he believes it makes sense to go for it, makes it, and keep the other team on the defensive. Let's face a fact if the other team has the ball, they have a chance to score. In another other words, yes, be cautious, but no, don't be paranoid...

And it all started at the top, with an owner who cared as much about all the people in his organization and wanted to win as much as he needed to run a successful business. He showed they can coexist. And it was won because they were lovable group of supposedly "unqualified members", who overcame adversity, becoming all that they could be, as an equal member of a team. And the number 1 effect of winning the Super Bowl, it united many millions of people – people of all religions, races, political parties, genders – that is, it brought everyone together...


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David J. Spangenberg
["Professor Pooch"]

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