It’s been quite the week for my beloved Seahawks. I was at the Monday Night Football game and let me just say that from my seats in the 300’s, it clearly looked like a catch. :)
The way Pete Carroll responded to a difficult leadership situation inspired thoughts about how his approach can be applied to a startup and to leading a company. There is a lot to like:
“Do it better than it has ever been done before”: Pete inspires his team and his program to want to do it better than ever before. He believes this at his core. The idea of evaluating, optimizing, and maximizing production out of every area is right on and something that I can certainly do a better job of. Once a year, break down every aspect of operations from cleaning service to Board Meetings and evaluate how it can be done better than anyone has before.
“Be different”: The Seahawks leadership has specifically looked for players with unique skills and traits and put them in a position that takes full advantage of their strength and minimizes their weakness. Through this, they have a collection of players that others didn’t value as highly and these players fit together perform at a very high level. With the market for technical talent as competitive as it is, part of the challenge for a successful startup and technology company is to think outside of the box as to the right type of people and skills to hire. With a specific amount of salary available, it is critical to use those dollars to achieve maximum output – what are the people and skills that are undervalued, but can add tremendous value when put together?
“Compete”: Competition is about setting up an environment where people are driven to perform to their maximum ability. Doing this while retaining team camaraderie and the right spirit of an organization is difficult. I believe Pete has done an excellent job of communicating the purpose of internal competition – to make each player better. The detailed evaluation and grading of game and practice tape, awareness of this information, and comparison between players, naturally creates a meritocracy. Pete is matter-of-fact that if there is another player available that will improve the team, it is his responsibility to make a change in order to make the team as competitive as possible. My learning: set up an environment that requires everyone to up their game each day, use data and transparency to show everyone how they are performing, and be very clear in communication that it is my responsibility to use our limited number of positions and budget to have the very best people in the company… it’s their responsibility to make sure they are the best.
PS: We are making great strides with the new startup, hence the delay since my last post. We are wrapping up our financing on Monday, but as we continue to operate in stealth mode, we are going to forgo any fun announcements or details. I look forward to asking for your support at the right time in the future when we’re ready… thanks in advance!
PPS: We still need more inside sales representatives in Seattle, WA. We will also be hiring 1 or 2 outside sales reps in certain top 10 cities across the country to test and measure the ROI vs an inside approach. If you know anyone, send them my way!