6 Winning Lessons From The New England Patriots (For All Organizations)

The New England Patriots just won the AFC Championship, earning a trip to their third straight Superbowl. As a Patriots fan, I’m thrilled. I know that many people don’t like the team, but there’s no denying that the Patriots have built a dynasty and are one of the most dominant teams in recent history (across any sport).

How do the Patriots keep achieving success? By implementing a system that creates winning teams. Every year there’s a different set of players, coaches, and schemes, but the team has embedded a consistent approach and culture through its longtime owner (Bob Kraft), head coach (Bill Belichick), and quarterback (Tom Brady). While there’s a ton of different things we can learn learn from the Patriots’ success, I’ve identified six key lessons that will be valuable for almost any organization…

Lesson #1: Build a cohesive team, don’t just rely on a few great players.

Over the course of a season, 60+ different players play in a game for an NFL team. Even if you have a few superstars doing great work, the team won’t succeed unless dozens of other players work in a highly coordinated fashion. The Patriots do a great job of recognizing that each player has the potential to help or hurt a team’s chances of winning, so they sign players who will fit in their overall system and train them on a variety of roles.

There is an old saying about the strength of the wolf is the pack, and I think there is a lot of truth to that. On a football team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together.” – Bill Belichick

Lesson #2: Focus on your next step, not the vast future.

The Patriots are famous for saying that they’re focused on the next game, unwilling to spend too much time thinking about all of the future twists and turns that may happen in their season. This clear focus on what’s in front of them allows the team to hyper focus on preparing for the next opponent on the schedule.

“Every game is an important game for us. Doesn’t matter what’s the next week – who we play, whether it’s a bye week, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Columbus Day. We don’t care. We’re just trying to go out there and win a game.” – Tom Brady

Lesson #3: Learn from the past, don’t dwell on it.

The Patriots don’t overly focus on previous games, whether it’s celebrating a win or lamenting a loss. They only look backwards for the purpose of identifying how they may be able to improve in the future.

“I don’t care about three years ago… I don’t care about two years ago. I don’t care about last year. The only things I care about is this week” – Tom Brady

Lesson #4: Constantly improve, instead of aiming for instant success.

I’m always amazed how the Patriots seem to play their best football at the end of the season. Early in this season I didn’t think the team was nearly good enough to go to the Superbowl, but the team has managed to play like the best team in football over the last two playoff games. I believe that this is a result of Belichick’s and Brady’s relentless focus on improvement.

We’ll continue to work hard to do a better job in every area going forward. I don’t know where those little things will come from but we’ll continue to be diligent on them.” -Bill Belichick

Things don’t correct themselves, you’ve got to go out there and work hard to correct them.” – Tom Brady

Lesson #5: Prepare to “do your job,” rather than talking about it.

The Patriots are known for the saying, “Do Your Job.” This is about making sure that the entire team understands the overall goals and each member recognizes their specific role in helping the team achieve them. Rather than engaging in too much dialogue with the press or making other public comments, the Patriots get ready to do their jobs. It’s powerful when every person in an organization focuses on being prepared, which only happens when they know that all of their their coaches and teammates are doing the same. 

Whatever success I’ve had it is because I’ve tried to understand the situation of the player. I think the coach’s duty is to avoid complicating matters.” -Bill Belichick

Mentally, the only players who survive in the pros are the ones able to manage all their responsibilities.” -Tom Brady

Lesson #6: Look for talent, but hire for much more.

Tom Brady was selected 199th in the 2000 NFL draft, but has become one of the greatest football players of all time. There have been a lot of players who’ve had more raw talent than Brady, but his desire to win and work ethic has propelled him to the top. That’s why you need to look for employees who aren’t only talented, but they also have the character and motivation to learn, adapt, and succeed.

Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling.” – Bill Belichick

“A lot of times I find that people who are blessed with the most talent don’t ever develop that attitude, and the ones who aren’t blessed in that way are the most competitive and have the biggest heart.” – Tom Brady

The bottom line: We can all learn from the Patriots winning ways.

The Inextricable Link Between CX & EX

If you’ve followed our research, then you know that we’ve always viewed employee engagement as a fundamental component of customer experience.  One of our Six Laws of Customer Experience is that “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” It just makes sense. How can you possibly expect to consistently deliver great customer experience with apathetic or disengaged employees?!?!

Although the connection between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) may seem […] Continue Reading…

Anyway You Say It, Happy New Year!

Gelukkige nuwejaar, Gëzuar vitin e ri, e glëckliches nëies, aam saiid, shnorhavor nor tari, yeni iliniz mubarek, bonne année, urte berri on, Зновым годам, subho nababarsho, asgwas amegas, mbembe mbu, bonne année, sretna nova godina, bloavezh mat, честита нова година, hnit thit ku mingalar pa, kung hé fat tsoi, bon any nou, xin nian kuai le, pace e salute, sretna nova godina, šťastný nový rok, godt nytår, gelukkig Nieuwjaar, felicxan novan jaron, head uut aastat, gott nýggjár, onnellista uutta […] Continue Reading…

Closing And Welcoming The Year Of Humanity

Last year Temkin Group labelled 2018, The Year of Humanity. With all of the discord and tension throughout the world, it seemed like a good time to promote the following mindset:

Embrace diversity. Recognize our differences and find ways to treat people as individuals.
Extend compassion. Tune into the condition of the people around us and care about their well-being.
Express appreciation. Proactively look for and acknowledge the positive aspects of the world around […] Continue Reading…

My 12 (XM)AS Wishes For You

Since tomorrow is Christmas, I decided to share 12 wishes for you and your experience management (XM) efforts. Here goes…

During the upcoming year, I hope that you:

Celebrate successes. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about the next milestone to achieve, but make sure to regularly take account of the great things that you and your team have already accomplished. You’ve earned it!
Stay positive. XM professionals, […] Continue Reading…

CX Myth #6: Compensation Drives Good CX Behaviors

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.

CX Myth #6: Compensation Drives Good CX Behaviors
What’s Wrong: Many organizations try to drive behavior change by tying employees’ compensation to customer experience metrics. While some level of compensation tied to CX can be helpful, it is often overdone. When you overly […] Continue Reading…

2019 XM Trends From Qualtrics Thought Leaders

This is the time of year for holiday cheer, family celebrations, and, of course, listings of annual trends!

To help me identify trends for 2019, I reached out to some of the many thought leaders across Qualtrics and asked them to share one or two of the top experience management (XM) trends they are expecting to see in the coming year.

It was a great exercise. We have some amazing people […] Continue Reading…

CX Leaders’ Employees Feel Prouder & More Appreciated

If you’ve followed our research, then you’ve likely seen a strong, almost inseparable link between between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). We continued to find that connection in our latest consumer benchmark.

In our Q3 2018 study, we asked 5,000+ U.S. employees to pick a word that best describes how their job makes them feel and split those responses based on how they judged the overall CX that their […] Continue Reading…

CX Myth #5: Wow Customers During Every Interaction

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.

CX Myth #5: Wow Customers During Every Interaction
What’s Wrong: While it may be appealing to think about creating an amazing experience every time you touch a customer, it’s just not appropriate or practical. All interactions should aim to meet your target customers’ […] Continue Reading…

Employees Want To Make A Positive Impact

What motivates employees? This may seem like a difficult question to answer, but it’s not hard at all. There’s one overwhelming answer: Making a positive difference.

In our latest consumer benchmark study, we asked more than 5,000 full-time U.S. employees to select which of eight job characteristics they felt was the most important. Here’s what we found:

Making a positive impact: 42%
Earning a lot of money: 14%
[…] Continue Reading…

What’s All This About X- And O-Data?

You might have heard Qualtrics discussing X-data (experience data) and O-data (operational data), and wondered, should we care? The answer is yes, and here’s why.

Let’s start with a basic premise that no individual experience exists in a vacuum. People form their opinions about any experience based on a collection of different factors. The more we can understand those factors, the better we can extrapolate the insights about a single personal experience […] Continue Reading…

Have A Thanksgiving Full Of Purpose & Meaning

Many people who read this blog are celebrating Thanksgiving and will be exchanging “Happy Thanksgiving” greetings throughout the day. But I’m pretty sure that overdosing on turkey and stuffing is not the most expedient path to long-term happiness (although I don’t have any data to support my hypothesis).

What is a better path to happiness? Purpose and meaning. As you can see below, people who find purpose and meaning in their […] Continue Reading…

Temkin Group, Qualtrics, And SAP

Well, this has been a crazy month. In case you missed it, Temkin Group was acquired by Qualtrics. We weren’t able to discuss it too much, because Qualtrics was in a pre-IPO quiet period. And then SAP acquired Qualtrics. Can you say Pac-Man?!?!

A month ago, I would have provided my independent analysis of these acquisitions. I can’t do that anymore, I’m now biased. But here’s my read of the […] Continue Reading…

CX Myth #4: Net Promoter Score Is The Best/Worst Metric

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.

CX Myth #4: Net Promoter Score Is The Best/Worst Metric
What’s Wrong: People often argue that Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the greatest metric, while other people argue that it’s a terrible metric. Both of those points of view are off the mark.

What’s […] Continue Reading…

Great News: Temkin Group Joins Forces With Qualtrics

I’m thrilled to announce that Temkin Group has been acquired by Qualtrics. Together, our goal is to create the world’s premiere center of excellence for all things experience management (XM).

This new center––the Qualtrics XM Institute––brings together the industry’s foremost thought leaders to help shape the future of experience management, establish and publish best-practices, drive product innovation, and enable certification and training programs that further build a community of XM […] Continue Reading…