By: Michael K. Higginbotham
What makes the six-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots so successful? People argue that a superstar quarterback such as Tom Brady has been the key to success. Others say that Boston sports teams play with a sense of pride, which reaps great rewards. As satisfactory as the answers may be to the ordinary fan, players, and coaches across the globe understand the reality of the Patriots’ success – accountability.
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Dynasty for the last twenty years, is thought to be the only leader in the NFL, which holds all players, coaches, and staff accountable for their actions every single day within the organization. If a player makes a bad play, they come out of the game. If a player doesn’t perform as a professional off the field, Bill is the first to evaluate their importance to the team. If coaches cannot execute the game plans which have been passed down from Bill, they should start looking for another job.
Now, Bill’s commitment to accountability is not as harsh as the previous paragraph might seem. It is the opposite. Bill was a former player, assistant coach, and head coach for the Cleveland Browns before he was hired in New England. His accountability standards are generated through reasonable expectations from his own experience. Bill evaluates players and staff through a microscope and understands their true potential if they are given the correct coaching and resources they need. Once reasonable expectations have been outlined, Bill ensures that all members of the organization to execute the task they promised to do, at the standard in which they promised to do it. Does that seem unreasonable?
As much as we all would love to be a part of an incredible dynasty, the reality is that most Americans spend their days working a nine to five job. Some of us provide services to clients, some people manufacture goods, and others thrive in the world of retail. Regardless of the organization, the most successful business plan always starts with accountability.
To help our teams grow, we must establish a culture of accountability. All too often do people feel awkward or malicious for bringing up unmet standards. Managers will get tired of communicating mistakes because it is easier for the manager to “just fix it themselves.” But in fact, the manager is just doing more damage to the culture of accountability and the company when they don’t hold people accountable for falling short of their standards. To combat this ideology, managers and leaders must always maintain the standards. More importantly, they must convince their teams to hold each other accountable – establishing a culture where no mistake goes without being addressed.
Help your organization thrive by creating a culture of accountability. Show your staff the love which accountability possesses because you genuinely believe it will help them win. Although we may never hold a Lombardi Trophy (or six) like Bill Belichick, we can drastically improve our organizations by holding something better – our standards.