The 33rd Team’s Insiders Network is a group of former NFL coaches and front-office executives who are here to provide insight and perspective into all things football. Each week during the season, we reach out to members of our Insiders Network to get their thoughts on a topical question. Here is this week’s question:
What was the most valuable lesson you learned in the early stages of your career?
What I learned early is that “everyone” in the organization regardless of their title, job description, or role are interconnected. That what you do and how you do it for the organization truly matters and either directly or indirectly effects the scoreboard on game day!
When I started in the NFL (working for NFL Europe), I learned very quickly to be prepared for the unexpected. You can have the most detailed, organized, prepared, and well thought out plan, but you always need to be ready to adjust and react on the run gracefully.
Organization and preparation allow you to pivot and respond as required based on unexpected speedbumps. The good ones can problem solve and do so without getting flustered. I was fortunate to have good mentors who stressed thinking through the “what ifs” and always being prepared with contingency plans. This advice has been beneficial throughout my career.
The best people are still missing over 50% of the time. Therefore, patience and collaboration usually win.
What I learned, from daily lectures and reminders from my dad, is to always keep learning. Three poisonous words destined to create complacency and ultimately failure are “I got it.”
You’ve never “got it.” There is always more to learn. Lessons are all around you, all the time. I learned to study people, apply what I felt were the positives and avoid what I felt were the negatives. Study schemes, study concepts, study players. There is always more to learn!
The key lesson I learned was that I needed to have a well thought-out rationale for any suggestion that I could be making.