What Church and Business Leaders Can Learn About Success From The Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most successful model franchises there is, regardless of the industry.  With yesterday’s 24-19 AFC Championship win over the New York Jets, the Steelers advanced to their record-tying 8th Super Bowl

“Build from within, trust tradition – and strike hard.”  Those are the words of Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in the magazine’s January 24th edition.  Leaders everywhere should take note of that statement as well as the additional elements that comprise the Steelers’ formula for success.

  1. People Matter – Art Rooney, then Ambassador Dan Rooney, and now Art Rooney II have traditionally greeted each player with a handshake after each game.  It’s no wonder why these testerone-filled individuals affectionately refer to each as “Mr. Rooney”.  Leaders,do you genuinely care about those on your team? 
  2. Trust Your Strengths As A Team – The Steelers have an organizational philosophy: “Owners own, scouts scout, coaches coach and players play”.  Leaders, do you trust the insights of those within your organization in their areas of discipline?
  3. Practice The Way You Play – Leaders understand that public success is always preceded by private preparation.   
  4. Player Development – Rookies are integrated into the team by practicing against the veterans.  Leaders, are the veterans in your organization committed to the success of others on the team?  Or do they withhold intellectual capital and praise for fear of losing it?
  5. “Every Play’s A Big Play” – Those were the words of rookie WR Antonio Brown, a 6th round selection from Central Michigan.  Leaders pay great attention to the smallest details.  Leaders also do not waste opportunity.
  6. Talent Selection – Yesterday, 16 of Pittsburgh’s 22 starters came from the draft.  The remaining players were low-cost free agent signings.  Scouts scout.  Leaders, are you committed to staff development or do you over-pay for those outside your organization?
  7. Consistency And Stability – The Steelers have had one family own the organization since 1933.  In addition, they have had only three head coaches since 1969.  Current head coach Mike Tomlin says “It’s a business model.  It’s smart.  And everyone here lives by it.  It’s daily.”  Leaders, when you look at your organizational culture, is it marked by consistency or constant upheaval and turmoil?

Nowhere was the Steelers approach better illustrated that when King contrasts two Ravens wideouts from two on the Steelers.  High-priced Ravens veteran free agents Anquan Boldin dropped a touchdown pass and T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a 4th down pass that sealed the game for the Steelers.  Meanwhile, rookie WR Brown caught a 58 yard pass that setup the team’s go-ahead touchdown.  Final stats  – Ravens two expensive WRs – four catches for 26 yards.  Pittsburgh’s Brown and 3rd round selection WR Emmanuel Sanders – seven catches for 129 yards.

That’s the Steelers way.  Leaders, is that the way of your organization?

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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.

2 Responses to “What Church and Business Leaders Can Learn About Success From The Pittsburgh Steelers”

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