After a rather full 24 hours, which included winning a Super Bowl, the MVP award, and going to Disney World, Aaron Rodgers then flew to New York to finish the day on Letterman.
I watched the segment, which included a completion from Rodgers to Letterman (and a lucky audience member getting the football). There were some great quotes from Rodgers. Here they are, taken from the video (edited version on Letterman’s site, here: full interview on youtube, here).
I do have to be one of the leaders… but it takes multiple leaders to have a locker room that functions properly.
I think a number of reasons: one, I wasn’t, you know – even today, I’m not gonna be the guy who pops out as – you know, I’m not 6-5, I’m not 240, I don’t run a 4.5 40. But I think a lot of times, the things you can’t measure are often the things that give people the most success.
You’ve really got to put some time in… surrounded by great people, but I care about my job.
(Letterman: What is your greatest asset?) I think my confidence, which comes directly from my preparation. I put the time, and I watch film, I study our game and I practice hard so I go into the game and I expect to play well.
The biggest change in my development was that off-season, when I said, you know what, I want to be the best in my position, so I need to make sure that I take the steps this off-season to put myself in a position to be successful.
Here are my thoughts/observations:
#1 – other people work just as hard (Peyton Manning, for one), so it takes more than hard work.
#2 – but, this level of success cannot be achieved without the hard work.
#3 – that hard work has to be demonstrated “year round,” in the “off-season.” With lots of emphasis on working on what will make you better.
#4 – it takes confidence. And confidence comes from thorough preparation.
#5 – you have to earn the position of leader. And then you have to lead. And then, you have to be willing to share the leadership. It takes a leadership team to lead a larger team.
#6 – and, don’t forget, it takes a team. You have to count on others, you have to rely on others. And, any one on the team who slacks off on work ethic, or preparation, can bring the whole team down.
#7 – and, it takes a positive environment aimed toward, calling for, success. The “locker room” is as important as the practice field and the game field.
All of this sounds like “well, of course” common sense. But Rodgers understood it, recognized it, and then, did it!
Success belongs to those who plan well, and then execute even better!
From Sara: Open letter to Jerry Jones: “Jerry, I heard you interviewed on TV last night and you were asked about the chemistry of the Cowboys football team. You basically told the reporters that good chemistry would happen when the team wins. You went on to explain that bad chemistry is to be expected when the team loses…in fact, I think your conclusion was that “chemistry” isn’t important in your locker room. I am not surprised the enormous talents of these athletes don’t translate into a winning team. Do you hear your own message, Jerry? You are devaluing the very element that your game is missing – being a team. You can’t just pay people and expect them to be a team. There are so many directions to take the conversation from here! I could point you towards building teamwork by reading Good to Great by Jim Collins; or talk about the responsibility the leader has to results as described in Primal Leadership by Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee. (BTW, those are both relevant topics for the Cowboy organization.) In my role as executive coach, I would ask you “How are you regarding the players?” You seem to view them as objects; you pay them so they should do what you want. Martin Buber the 20th century philosopher calls that an “I-It” relationship. That’s where you treat people as commodities, not as people. There is better way. It is to see and treat people like people. Want to win the Super Bowl? Read Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute and give me a call.
Cheryl Adds: Most people might tell you that it wasn’t the words you spoke last night in that interview that they recall, it was the emotions you displayed. There was arrogance and blame plain as day. It was the underlying tone saying, in other words “It’s not my fault; blame someone else.” And what great justification you have for feeling that way; after all, you pay all the money so it must be someone else’s fault. What’s missing is the acknowledgement that emotions are contagious as pointed out in Resonant Leadership by Annie McKee and Richard Boyatzis. This translates into an emotional viral infection of the team where every member of the Cowboys now has permission to say and worse, feel the same way. Any time a group is saying to themselves, “It’s someone else’s fault for this result”, in your case losing, then the culture created is one of blame and no trust. How can team members work together effectively with no trust? And who is working on taking responsibility and thus working on a solution to this problem if they are busy pointing fingers towards their team mates? There will never be accountability if the leader is not accountable, visibly and emotionally. As McKee, Boyatzis, and Goleman point out in Primal Leadership, “The glue that holds people together in a team, and that commits people to an organization, is the emotions they feel.” Still think chemistry isn’t important in the locker room, Big J?