In an earlier post on the importance of organizational fit to being successful, I wrote about Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll:
Pete Carroll, the head coach and executive vice-president of the Seattle Seahawks, has for the past several years been implementing his dream of fundamentally changing the team environment by changing the way players are coached. He’s adopting a people-positive approach: “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?” His strategy includes an interesting mix of sports psychology, brain performance testing, meditation and visualization, yoga, and an overall focus on the mental as well as physical well-being of the players. It’s an unorthodox, Moneyball-style fresh-thinking approach that I’m betting will have a big payoff.
Many had doubted that Carroll’s approach would pay off. Some thought it was coddling the players – that successful teams were fueled by fear, anger, and aggression.
But here we are, at the end of Super Bowl XLVIII, and it’s pretty damn near a blowout: the Seahawks beat the famed Denver Broncos, 43-8.
During the Winter Olympics in 1980, coach Herb Brooks led a team of amateur and collegiate hockey players to an upset victory over the Soviet team that came to be known as the Miracle On Ice. Brooks did rely heavily on aggressive challenges and confrontation to toughen the team, but also worked to unite them into a cohesive yet flexible team “that could grab whatever opportunities came its way”. Carroll’s positive approach to getting the best out of people and uniting them under his vision has achieved a similar miracle.
Let’s call it the Miracle O’ Nice.