Lessons in Team Building and Leadership from Super Bowl LVI Champion Los Angeles Rams
Winning in sports is the ultimate example of team building and leadership gone right. Most of you watched Super Bowl LVI yesterday, which looks like it’s going to end up being the most watched Super Bowl of all time. I’m seeing an estimate of 117M viewers, though that’s an unofficial number. Not only was the Super Bowl in my hometown of Los Angeles this year, but the winning team, the Los Angeles Rams, had quite the “all-in” storyline this year, and I cannot help but see some correlations to how we advisors build teams and lead.
Talent Alone Is Not Enough
Matthew Stafford, the winning quarterback, spent a decade in Detroit before being traded to the Rams and winning a Super Bowl in his first year here. For context, he departed as the Detroit Lions’ all-time leader in completions (3,898) passing yards (45,109), passing touchdowns (282), and quarterback wins (74) — took the franchise to three playoff appearances in his tenure, but the team failed to win a playoff game, going 0-3. Now, this is not going to be a Detroit Lions smear campaign, but you can look up a decades worth of decision making and not working to keep or get the best talent to surround Stafford. Two Hall of Famers (Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson) in Detroit basically decided to retire than to keep putting their bodies through a rigorous season knowing they didn’t have what it took to win. So how was Stafford able to win in his first year as a Los Angeles Ram?
It’s rare you see a super star in any league carry a team to a championship with average talent around him/her. Was this Super Bowl win always there for Stafford all those years in Detroit? Probably. The fact that the Rams put players around him that are just as talented, or even more talented than him was crucial. Why is this point important for us financial advisors building our own practice? Let’s say you’re a newer advisor, but a high performer and can produce, on your own, 0,000 a year, comfortably. You’re great at selling insurance. That’s what you do! Now how do you get from $300,00 a year to $600,00? We all know you can’t just put in double the time, because you will eventually run out of time. And you cannot trade time for dollars. That is a recipe for failure. So who will you surround yourself with to help you scale and grow?
- How about an assistant who can anticipate your every need?
- How about a sales assistant who can take your prospect over from the closing meeting through final approval of all paperwork? (Think about the time you’d have to keep closing!)
- How about a Marketing and Technology role to help you build in processes and systems to make everyone’s lives easier?
- What about adding new producers who can seamlessly join your firm, learn your sales process, and help you build your client base?
Now, let’s think about your own practice for a second and the qualities you should consider when hiring. Are you hiring people smarter than you? Are you hiring people that are a net positive to your office culture? Are you creating different capabilities, offerings, and points of views with your hires? They are also a reflection of you, so choose wisely. So now you’ve got the surrounding talent, then what? How do you get them all to work together?
Leadership and Decision-Making
It starts at the top. For the Rams, the owner of the team, the GM, and Coach were all aligned on the goal – to win a Super Bowl. They figured out the first part and surrounded him with weapons. Players who would make his life easier. Doing whatever it takes to make off season acquisitions AND in-season trades to bolster his weapons. To put it simply, they weren’t cheap in their acquisitions. And you shouldn’t be either. There’s a reason better talent in our space requires better pay. How does this concept play into our own practices? Have you thought about your team’s construction? Do you acknowledge that you have gaps to fill? Or are you just hoping that you can carry the team because you’re a star performer? It’s about a mindset shift and acknowledging that you are dedicated to putting resources into building your team because in the long run, this is what will make your life easier. I know this isn’t easy to do, but think about what your “Super Bowl” is. You probably know this already – it’s a number. It will be a straight-forward math exercise to determine what inputs you’ll need to achieve that revenue goal. We are all asked to be leaders of our own practice, and the sooner you have this mindset shift and realization that well led talent wins, the easier your path is going to be. Eszylfie Taylor Creator, Taylor Method