9 Reasons For Sustained Excellence: A Study Of The New England Patriots

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates from the sideline after the Patriots scored a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The New England Patriots are the NFL’s team of the decade.  Having already been to four Super Bowls (winning three) this decade, the Patriots are positioned to make their fifth trip to the championship game later this month.

Are there secrets to the Patriots’ sustained success?  If so, what are the elements and can churches and other organizations apply those same principles?  I think the answer is “Yes”!  In the January 10th edition of Sports Illustrated, the great football writer Peter King gives us the following insights into the success links of this model franchise.

  1. You Build A Solid Base – All great organizations have consistent, high-capacity senior leadership.  Team owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and QB Tom Brady have each now been with the team for a decade. 
  2. You Change The Pieces Around The Base – While the core leadership has remained intact, the complimentary pieces around them changed almost yearly.
  3. Aligned, Attuned Leadership. –  Robert Kraft is arguably the best owner in professional sports.  Belichick is arguably the finest coach in professional sports.  And Brady is arguably the most effective quarterback in football.  Notice the progression – Owner to Front Office to Head Coach to Coach On The Field.  To have sustained excellence, your entire leadership must be aligned and attuned.
  4. Passionate Leadership – Belicheck and QB Tom Brady still have a huge level of passion for the game and their tasks.  Complacency is the enemy of sustained excellence.
  5. Eye For Talent – Since last year, the Patriots have changed their two top running backs, four of their top five receivers, an offensive lineman, and their most productive defensive back is a rookie.
  6. Adjust To Personnel – With the change in personnel, the Patriots have completely changed their offensive approach.  While the goals and objectives remain the same, the team is constantly modifying their methods to fit the individual skills sets of the team’s players.
  7. Talent Acquisition Strategy – The Patriots understand the NFL Draft.  The front office emphasizes quality AND quantity regarding their player selections.  They rarely miss on their multitude picks.  For instance, the Patriots will own 3 of the top 33 picks in this year’s draft.
  8. Multi-Generational  – The  abundance of draft picks allow the Patriots to constantly strengthen weak areas and turn over players.  This approach allows the team to have a good mix of youth and veteran experience.  Additionally, they are able to keep salary costs low so they can properly compensate their best veteran talent.   
  9. On-Field Leadership – Tom Brady is a great leader.  He executes the game plan and leads his teammates in fulfilling their assignments.  On-field leadership is characterized by production, raising the level of performance of those around you, and the completion of objectives.

Does your church or organization have these 9 qualities?  If not, are you ready to make the necessary changes?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.


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