In my book Taking Your Team To The Top – How to build and manage great teams like the pros I write about the importance of finding the “best and the brightest” people to put on your team and then developing them to their fullest potential.
The Synergy of a Team
The “natural law” of things points to survival of the fittest. Some achieve this through mutual coexistence and the very strength in numbers. However, the best and brightest know that a team is the sum of its parts and a group of people who actively focus on synergy will blow away the competition. While most people think the bigger and stronger the team, the better equipped it will be to reach its goals, but in reality, the more interwoven and structured the team (independent of size) may be, the greater likelihood of consistent success. The team mentality is imperative to the team structure. A team uses its numbers to alleviate stress on an individual. No one person alone can accomplish what a team can, even with endless time and resources.
The very best NFL head coaches understand and continually operate with the last sentence in mind. They also understand their responsibility in developing and maximizing potential in their players and coaches.
Developing Extraordinary Talent
The team and its leadership should encourage its members to strive for excellence through continuing education and development opportunities. If and when possible, a team member should look and or ask for these very opportunities. The strongest teams will foster this through programs built to strengthen the individual “cogs” in the machine. Team or corporate resources are commonly more abundant than those of the individual. By choosing the best and the brightest, and then taking their talent to the next level through opportunity, training and experience, you can quickly create the extraordinary team member.
The best leaders cultivate their talent and encourage upward movement. It’s no surprise to see the following article by Scott Kacsmar for the BleacherReport.com point towards the most successful coaches spawning the next generation of NFL leaders.
Dissecting the Coaching Trees in the NFL Today
BY SCOTT KACSMAR – FootballOutsiders.com
(FEATURED COLUMNIST) BleacherReport.com
Many of the NFL’s notable head coaches can be traced back through coaching trees that start with names like Paul Brown, Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh and Marty Schottenheimer.
However, in today’s quickly changing coaching climate, we are starting to see more coaches emerge with a college background or a history filled with working for multiple NFL coaches.
The latter is really nothing new. Having initially provided the coaching histories at Pro-Football-Reference a few years back, it was surprising how many different jobs many coaches have had to go through to reach the coveted position of head coach. Joining a few different coaching trees can help someone establish clout in the league.
That is why a NFL coaching tree is not like a family tree, which focuses on the origin of birth and how people are related. For a NFL coaching tree, it could be more about where that person crafted their philosophy or had their most success, which led directly to their hiring as a head coach.
For example, ESPN has been doing a series on great coaches. Like how everyone else would do, it includes Bill Belichick as part of Bill Parcells’ coaching tree. This mostly comes from their working relationship on the New York Giants, but they also worked together with the Patriots (1996) and Jets (1997-99).
Yet it was actually Ted Marchibroda of the Baltimore Colts in 1975 that gave Belichick his first NFL job as an assistant. Belichick worked under five different head coaches before Parcells became his coach in 1983.
Even when the two joined the same staff in 1979, the head coach of the Giants was Ray Perkins. So should Belichick and Perkins both be first-generation coaches on Perkins’ tree?
It’s a complicated process, but we have sorted out where today’s head coaches come from. Let’s just say it is one big forest with many sharing of branches among the trees.
League-Wide View: The Coaches of the Coaches
First let’s meet our 2013 coaches, considering even a hardcore NFL fan may not be able to match all 32 names and places just yet. Half of the group has less than three full seasons of experience as a head coach in the NFL.
The following lists all of the NFL head coaches each coach has previously worked under in the NFL. The list is essentially in chronological order, ignoring second stints together. Interim coaches not promoted to head coach were excluded.