Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lotus pose on two


The big idea is that happy players make for better players. Everyone in the facility, from coaches and players to personal assistants and valets, is expected to follow Carroll's mantras regarding positivity of thought, words and actions. "Do your job better than it has ever been done before," he tells them.

"IT'S DIFFERENT HERE," Pete Carroll says. "Have you noticed?" It's hard not to. At 9 a.m. on the first Sunday of training camp in Renton, Wash., high-performance sports psychologist Mike Gervais, dressed in a navy Seahawks hoodie and white baseball cap and flashing more enthusiasm than is rational at this hour, welcomes players into a meeting room at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. This place used to be the site of a coal tar refinery; now it's the happiest, greenest campsite in the history of the NFL. Gervais is about to lead a meditation session and, as he always does, instructs the players to hit record on their phone voice-recorder apps and to close their eyes. Then he starts guiding them: "Quiet your minds," "Focus your attention inwardly" and "Visualize success."


Pete Carroll Voted NFL's Most Popular Coach. What Does This Say About Leadership?


The choice is a revealing one, as Carroll has long had a reputation as the ultimate “player’s coach” – known for his highly emotional, ultra-supportive style.  Yet in the pro ranks, until his recent success with Seahawks, he had been viewed almost as a bit peculiar, better suited for college football than for the NFL.  He had two relatively unsuccessful coaching stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots in the 1990s, after which he returned to the college ranks and built a championship program with USC.

How do some football analysts view Carroll’s recent selection?

“Carroll’s creation of a laid back, player-first atmosphere has been a hallmark of his time at both Seattle and USC, and that’s a major reason why players are drawn to him,” wrote Stephen Cohen in  “Carroll doesn’t fit the coaching stereotype of an inflexible hothead…and that makes him someone NFL players want to work under.”

“Carroll fully believes that compassion is a vital factor in winning football games,” noted Jeffri Chadiha in “His mantra is Always Compete, and he applies that mindset to everybody who works in the building. In the end, Carroll comes off as a man who ultimately wants to see the best come out of everybody, mainly because of how much joy he would take in seeing somebody else attain that level of success.”


Given a choice, players pick Carroll


What these results tell us is that the bottom line isn't the most important factor in determining player happiness. If all they cared about was winning a championship, they wouldn't have picked five head coaches in the top seven who haven't hoisted a Lombardi trophy. Many players want to enjoy the journey as much as the final destination. This is where Carroll's true genius resides.

Carroll has gone out of his way to separate himself from nearly every head coach who has worked in this profession. One visit to the Seahawks' offseason practices should tell an outsider that much. Carroll will blast music from players' iPods during full-team drills, interact with guests who come by to watch and carry himself as if he's the host of a house party instead of the multimillion-dollar face of an NFL franchise. He seems capable of having more fun in one afternoon than most coaches have in an entire season.


Pete Carroll's Better Than You--At Making Others Better


Looking ahead to Sunday’s Super Bowl from a leadership perspective, let’s acknowledge two truths about Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll.

His leadership style seems to distinguish itself in at least four ways:

  1. Crazy big ambitions.
  2. Unusual optimism.
  3. A rock-star persona combined with a common touch.
  4. An unwillingness to hang on to resentment.


Pete Carroll has made Seahawks better by offering second chances

Seattle Times

His principle belief: to help people be the best they can be. It sounds hokey until he does exactly that.

“The philosophy of the whole thing is we’re doing this one person at a time,” Carroll said. “It’s one person talking to one person and transferring a person with a vision of despair to hope. We have to help sculpt a vision for those types of people. So it isn’t so hopeless.”

To Michael Irvin, this is the best untold story in the NFL. During the buildup of Super Bowl XLVIII, the lazy narrative of villains (Seahawks) versus virtuous (Denver Broncos) has gotten media play. The Seahawks have their issues — the drug suspensions, in particular — but the bad-boy label is inaccurate and uninformed.  “We’ll slip up and focus on the few who fall off the tree and off the wagon,” Irvin said.

“We’ll focus on the Brandon Browners because he’s suspended for the year, or the Richard Sherman rant and say, ‘Aw, they’re bad boys.’ But Pete Carroll has taken a lot of confused, young people who never had a father, and he gives them an opportunity by speaking to their person and bringing the best out of them in their profession.

“You’ll never hear me talking bad about people who give others like that an opportunity and a second chance because I’m one of those supposed problem people. I’ve got all the respect and love in the world for Seattle and the organization.”

“I feel like Pete talks to people from the heart,” said David Lujano, who works on Alive and Free’s warrant prevention project, which helps youths handle their legal issues properly. “For a coach that has everything, why would he spend all this effort if it wasn’t in his heart? As a person who received a second chance, I really respect that.”


3 Things Startup CEOs Can Learn From Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson

Business Insider

The current Super Bowl storyline getting attention in the press is the match-up between Peyton Manning — arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game — and the Seahawk's defense, ranked first in the league in nearly every category.

But according to former NFL quarterback Tom Flick, the real wildcard in this year's Super Bowl is Seattle QB Russell Wilson, a "startup quarterback" whose mobile and scrappy approach is challenging the more traditional, top-down quarterback model. It's a leadership style Flick believes is becoming increasingly important to emulate as traditional management structures become obsolete within the startup world.

Here are three lessons startup executives can learn from Wilson's fast and creative style of leadership:

1. Be willing to take big risks when the opportunity arises.

2. Don't be afraid to depart from tradition.

3. Assume your job is always on the line.


5 Leadership Lessons from Peyton Manning

Phase Two Learning

Over the years, Peyton Manning has demonstrated impressive leadership qualities; both on and off the field.  Regardless of what your role is in the learning industry, or whether you are a even a football fan at all, there are 5 simple leadership lessons you can apply:

1.     Know your craft, inside and out.

2.     Be open to coaching and feedback.

3.     Don’t let setbacks or mistakes define you.

4.     Raise the bar.

5.      Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.


3 Startup Lessons From an NFL Coach

Fox Small Business

Since he took the reins in Seattle in 2010, Pete Carroll’s taken a below-average team and turned out a Superbowl contender. His leadership style can be applied to a startup and to leading a company. There is a lot to like:


“Do it better than it has ever been done before”:

“Be different”:


The takeaway: Set up an environment that requires everyone to up their game each day. Use data and transparency to show your employees how they are performing, and be very clear that it is your responsibility to use the limited number of positions and expenses to make the best company it can be.

And with that … Go Seahawks!


Seahawks’ Transformation a Lesson for Leaders

Meet John Song

Today in Seattle, people are extremely excited about the recent success of its football team (Seahawks). Such success is not normal for this town which has had one major championship (NBA championship in the 197-79 season) throughout its sports history. That franchise (Sonics), by the way, is no longer in town. While the Seahawks are still three difficult playoff wins away from a championship, people are excited about the foundation that has been built. This team is having success with a nucleus of very young players.


Russell Wilson's kindness leaves mark


"If someone tells me no, I'm going to try to do the best I can to prove them wrong -- more for myself than anyone else," he said. "I'm a self-motivator. I believe that God has given me a sense of leadership to be able to motivate other people, but also myself. I want to be the best one day, and I'm not going to shy away from that. I've got a long ways to go, but I think, to be honest with you, God has put me here for a particular reason."