Super Bowl Psychology: What Winning Teams Do Right
By: David Mielach, BusinessNewsDaily Staff Writer
It wasn’t luck that landed the New York Giants and New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Rather, it was the result of months — if not years — of hard work, team-building and constant preparation. When they take the field this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, it is those qualities that will once again be on display when one team is named Super Bowl champion.
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Build your team
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth
Simply having the right people, however, is not enough to ensure future success. You have to build your team. Just ask Susan Tose Spencer, who knows what it takes to build a team both in sports and business. After serving as the legal counsel for the Philadelphia Eagles for five years, Spencer was promoted to general manager of the team, a position she filled from 1983 to 1985.
“During that period of time, I was running the business, which included managing a budget, trying to collect proceeds and all the other things you would do when trying to run a business,” said Spencer, who is the author of “Briefcase Essentials: Discover Your 12 Natural Talents for Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Workplace” (Greenleaf Book Group, 2011). “In addition to that, I was also responsible for signing players to contracts. I also worked with the coaching and scouting staff to try to work out the numbers for players that would have to fit that into their scheme without hitting the salary cap.”
Having the experience of crafting a sports team taught Spencer what it took to be successful in the sports world, but her career after leaving the Eagles taught her what it took to be successful in the business world as well. After moving on from the NFL, Spencer ran two successful businesses, one in food distribution and another in meat processing that dealt with sales worth tens of millions of dollars a year, but her time as the first female general manager in NFL history taught her about a quality, present in the sports world that was lacking in the business world.
“Team-building is a quality that I find isn’t really prevalent in most large companies,” said Spencer, who is in the process of writing a second book. “When I use the word team-building, obviously in a sports team, if you don’t build a team and you don’t have the team buy in, you won’t win. In my companies, some of which had over 100 people working there, teamwork and team spirit was everything.”
Adding another layer to simply putting the right people in place, both businesses and sports teams must have the leadership to guide either their employees or athletes. Even if a team has the most talented players or employees, the end result will not end in a success if there is not a strong team spirit and clear leadership in place.
“All of the coaches I have spoken to told me there is one ingredient that is unmistakable if you are going to get buy-in from your players or employees,” said Spencer. “You have to be authentic and you need to know your stuff. If you are neither of the two you will get no buy-in. If you get no buy-in, you won’t have team work and you can’t build a team, which means you won’t be successful.”
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