Browsing the Barrel O’Monkeyz archives, I was thinking my 2018 blog, “Every Business Needs a Star Performer,” probably hadn’t aged well. After all, it’s a very New England Patriots-centric blog—the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots, that is, not the team that’s off to a 1-5 start in 2023. In the blog, I write about how high performers—like the aforementioned TB12—are good for businesses and their ability to sustain success. Of course, Brady is long gone from New England and retired from the NFL, but his example still makes sense—perhaps even more so now that he is gone. The Patriots have been mediocre at best since the GOAT left their huddle, and some would say they’re abysmal this year. Their roster has been criticized for not having any elite talent on it, and I think it’s safe to say they’ll never taste such sweet success again without a star performer (or two) on it. I’m not saying they need to find another GOAT or Gronk (though that would be nice). After all, the Tom Brady’s and Rob Gronkowski’s of the world are what’s known as “generational talent,” once in a lifetime finds. Absent that, what the Patriots (and any business seeking success) need is one or two reliable, clutch performers willing (and able) to go above and beyond.
Every Business Needs a Star Performer
(first appeared in January 2018)Much has been written and said this week about how the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl again. Clearly, many fans outside of New England are suffering from “Patriots Fatigue” as it seems the Pats play in the Super Bowl practically every year. Well, they don’t play every year, but after they play in Super Bowl LII on February 4, they will have been in 8 of 18 Super Bowls since Tom Brady took over as starter in 2001. That’s more than 44% of all Super Bowls, so close to every other year—not too shabby!
I watched Sunday’s afternoon’s AFC title game between the perennial winner Patriots and the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars. For much of the game, Jacksonville went toe-to-toe or even bested the Patriots. But NFL football games are 60 minutes long, and while Jacksonville was on top most of the game, they were not on top when it mattered most (as time ran out).
Talk to a New England fan, and some will ask you, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, “Was there ever any doubt?”
Of course, there had to have been some doubt—sporting events are prime for upsets—but having Tom Brady in your stable goes a long way to minimizing that doubt because he’s been there, done that. Over his 18+ year career, he’s been tested in practically all ways possible for an NFL player to be tested. He’s proven, reliable, and he gets the kind of results his employer and his teammates want.
High Performers Good for Business
Wouldn’t we all like to have an employee like that? Or better yet a whole team of “go to” clutch performers we can rely on when the chips are down and the competition is fierce?
No matter what our business entails, we all need a Tom Brady (or two) on our teams to make success possible and sustainable. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs or small business owners, we are that go-to person, while other times, with bigger organizations, we are able to hire key people we can entrust to get the job done as needed, when needed.
Lessons to Be Learned
What kinds of lessons can we business owners and leaders learn from how Tom Brady has managed to maintain his level of performance for such a long time?
Year in and year out, Tom Brady works hard to stay at the top of his game. He doesn’t stand pat. What kind of efforts do your employees make to stay at the top of their games? Do they engage in continuing education or learn new skills? As an employer, what do you do to motivate and make possible your staff’s personal and professional development?
No one has ever accused Tom Brady of being complacent or willing to stake his reputation on past accomplishments. Despite all his success, he still shows the fire and drive of a rookie out to prove himself worthy of NFL glory. Do your employees rest on their laurels, or are they constantly seeking new ways of being productive? As their employer, what ways do you incentivize them in the form of compensation and recognition to perform at high levels throughout their careers, avoiding the label of one-hit wonders?
Tom Brady’s efforts to stay in top shape mentally and physically are well-documented. By all reports, he lives a healthy lifestyle that keeps his body and mind in peak shape. It’s just as important for business employees to be in tip-top shape. What kinds of things do you do to promote wellness among your people? Do you work your employees until they’re running ragged, or do you encourage a healthy balance between work and their personal lives? Needless to say, happy, healthy employees are more productive employees.
Just Imagine the Results
What an amazing thing it has been for the Patriots’ owners and coaching staff to have a player/employee like Tom Brady for 18 years and counting.
- What would having such a clutch and reliable performer on your team do for your business?
- What would it do for your other employees?
It’s generally accepted that star performers like Tom Brady tend to raise the games of those around them. Teammates get pumped when they see someone else doing well and they want to get in on it, so their “game” improves commensurately.
Business teams often experience the same kind of rising tide since high performers tend to motivate others around them to be high performers, too. As a business owner/manager, you should be looking at ways you can create the work conditions and motivations to get the most out of your top performers and thus your supporting cast.
You Can’t Fault Success
So am I suffering from “Patriots Fatigue?”
Admittedly, seeing some new faces on the grid-iron such as my favorite team, the Oakland Raiders (soon to be Las Vegas Raiders), has some appeal. But there’s something special going on in New England and it’s been going on for quite some time. As football fans, we are getting to witness what a top performer can do for an organization and for enriching the talents and successes of those around him or her. It’s a lesson well worth learning for the business world!
Share your thoughts on how your star performers impact your organization, your customers, and your bottom line. What, you don’t have anyone you consider a go-to kind of person? That’s a problem and something you should look at fixing for 2018 . . . and beyond.
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