BUILDING A CULTURE OF WINNING
The prospect of going from a team that’s at the bottom of the standings to one that’s on top is daunting. When you’ve done a lot of losing, it gets hard to imagine yourself winning. So even as I’m confronting players about their weaknesses, I’m also always trying to build a culture of success. That’s not something you can do overnight. You have to go one step at a time, the same way you move the ball down the field, yard by yard.
Here’s my philosophy: to win games, you need to believe as a team that you have the ability to win games. That is, confidence is born only of demonstrated ability. This may sound like a catch-22, but it’s important to remember that even small successes can be extremely powerful in helping people believe in themselves.
In training camp, therefore, we don’t focus on the ultimate goal—getting to the Super Bowl. We establish a clear set of goals that are within immediate reach: we’re going to be a smart team; we’re going to be a well-conditioned team; we’re going to be a team that plays hard; we’re going to be a team that has pride; we’re going to be a team that wants to win collectively; we’re going to be a team that doesn’t criticize one another.
When we start acting in ways that fulfill these goals, I make sure everybody knows it. I accentuate the positive at every possible opportunity, and at the same time I emphasize the next goal that we need to fulfill. If we have a particularly ...