Love them or hate them, it is painfully obvious that the New England Patriots have created a dynasty! In the last 18 years, they have made it to the Super Bowl 9 times – with 6 wins. That means that in less than two decades, the Patriots have been to and won more Super Bowls than all other teams have won in their entire existence. When an organization has this kind of sustained success, many people will take a look at what they are doing and try to replicate it, and in my truly unqualified opinion, I believe that it is due to their ability to cultivate players that they drafted late and motivate players to exceed their perceived value, which is something that many companies strive to do as well. In the last season, two of the leaders for the Patriots were their, first ballot hall of fame, quarterback and the most recent Super Bowl MVP, Julian Edelman. Employees can learn alot from these two athletes.
Let’s start with Tom Brady. Most people know that he was taken in late in the draft, but some do not know exactly when he was taken at number 199. Every team in the league passed on him, not one time but 6. His draft profile was full of gems like “Poor build”, “Can’t drive the ball downfield” and “Lacks a really strong arm”. Heck, even his college coach refused to name Brady the starter in his senior season and continued to have him split duty as Quarterback. Even the team that drafted him only really expected him to compete for a role on the practice squad. That did not happen though. Brady performed well in the preseason and was on the roster as a backup for Drew Bledsoe, and in week two of his rookie season, Bledsoe took a hit that sent him to the sidelines and Brady into the starting role. Brady was not supposed to be the starter for the Patriots, but when he was given the opportunity, he was prepared and took it! Taking opportunities is something that many can use in their own career. In my career, there are opportunities available daily for me to prove my ability and further my career and success stories like Brady. He reminded me of what can be accomplished when you seize that chance.
Next, let’s take a look at this years Super Bowl MVP – Julian Edelman. Edelman was drafted as a 7th round Quarterback. He was taken in a year when the Brady had already established himself as the starter, and there was virtually no way that he would supplant him as the starter. Edelman was considered to be undersized and quickly converted to a specialist on the football field. He was utilized as a punt returner. He then continued to develop as a wide receiver. Again, this was a person that was drafted super late and considered someone that would not be a contributor on the field. Years later, he is now the top wide receiver on the team, and he owes that to his flexibility. What I take from that is, in every career, there are huge benefits in being flexible and utilizing your talents in a way that is unexpected. It definitely will take you out of your comfort zone, but it will get you noticed. With hard work and effort, you will achieve your goals.
These two athletes are great examples of what employees need to do to promote themselves to the next level, and it goes without saying – you need to have someone in a leadership role that can cultivate that. In the case of the Patriots, that person is their head coach Bill Belichick. In nearly all aspects of life, if you have a goal there is no need to recreate the wheel. Someone, somewhere has developed a system that will get you what you want. If your goal is to be noticed and advance, take a page out of Brady and Edelman’s book, and be flexible and prepared to take your opportunities when they come!
About the Author…
Austin Ackerman is a Staffing Specialist at 4M HR Logistics. He has more than a decade of marketing and recruiting experience in the industrial and technical industries, working with clients in such disciplines as military, construction, engineering, manufacturing, logistics, and technology. He currently specializes in recruitment, marketing, and employer branding. Follow Austin on LinkedIn!