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Now is the time for us to choose to believe in the power of chosen culture.
I’m so excited to be going on this journey with you – to take you inside a Super Bowl Championship locker room and show you how culture was chosen and practiced in order to get the expected performance and behavior across all of our team members.
As we talk about the next four videos, I’m going to take you through what I call the four L’s. These are the core principles that I took away from my experience on the Indianapolis Colts. Those were listening, learning, language, and love.
And so today we’re going to talk about the culture of listening. We’re going to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a champion listener?”
Now, you might not expect this, but if I were to ask you the question, “What is the most important part of a successful NFL offense? What is the foundational and most important part of a successful NFL offense?” Would you believe it if I told you it was the huddle? Well, it is.
Now we’re never stopping the Sunday NFL party to get everybody to pay attention to the huddle because it’s so mundane, but you have to understand that the huddle is the foundation of all of the information that we need as players in order to be successful on the field. And it happens on average between 65 – 75 times a game. And so it was so incredibly important in Indianapolis that our offensive coordinator, Tom Moore, had a culture of the huddle. It was something that we would practice over and over again, going from the sideline, running out onto the field, getting into our positions in the huddle, and going through our culture. And doing that over and over again, so that it became second nature.
The three truths about the foundation of the culture of our huddle was stop, look, and care.
Stop was the act of selflessness. And what we were asked to do was the minute our leader Peyton Manning stepped into the huddle, everything stopped. What we were thinking about the last play, what we thought was going to happen on the next play – everything stopped. It was an act of selflessness to give our leader the stage of speech.
After that, we move on to the second truth, which is look. Look is the pursuit of information. It was so important that not only did our offensive coordinator want us to look at Peyton, but he wanted us to look directly at Peyton’s mouth. Because when you’re playing in front of 80,000 fans, you might not always hear things clearly. And so he wanted us to use multiple senses so that we could also see the words that were being formed.
So stop is the act of selflessness – to give others the stage of speech. Look is the pursuit of information.
And then most importantly, what brings everything together, is care. And care is the practice of empathy. Empathy means putting yourself in the position or the shoes of the person speaking. Usually, when people are speaking, when they have something to say, it’s because it’s meaningful to them. As a tight end, I had to be empathetic towards the responsibilities of the rest of the 10 players on offense because what their job was, what their responsibility was, directly impacted how I was supposed to do my job. And so if I’m not empathetic towards what their roles are, I’ll never be able to help the team to the fullness of my capabilities.
So, as you can see, even the smallest things, even the things that you may never pay attention to, are important when it comes to culture.
In Indianapolis, the culture we practiced for the huddle was stop, look, and care. If you begin to practice that, as a listener, you will answer the question, “What does it mean to be a champion listener?”
Be someone that always gives the person speaking a chance to share. Be someone who’s pursuing information. Look at people in their eyes when they’re talking to you. It creates a connection.
And lastly, care. Be empathetic towards people. When they have something to say, it’s meaningful. It will come across and they will trust you more.
Friends, culture is so critical to how we perform. There’s no better way of saying it – now is the time that we need to come together to believe in the power of chosen culture.
– Ben Utecht
Super Bowl XLI Champion
Culture & Leadership Speaker, Coach, and Corporate Ambassador