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Companies Want The Ideal Team Player

Employers want to determine three things at an interview:

1. Whether you can you do the job.

2. Whether you will want to keep doing the job.

3. Whether you will fit in with the company culture, or will be able to get along with others.

Can you do the job is the least important, because the recruiter or people at the company already suspect you can, else they wouldn’t have set up the Zoom interview or invited you in.

Will you want to keep doing the job is more important, as they don’t want to hire you only for you to jump ship within a few weeks or months, and they don’t yet have the information they need to determine an answer.

The most important of the three is will you fit in. FIT is considered so important that over 63% of hiring companies include assessment and personality tests in the hiring process.

Why is it so important? Well, ask yourself, did you ever enjoy working with a difficult person? Working with such people wears one down. And you know what happens when companies don’t get rid of them? The other people leave.

In practice interview sessions, it’s relatively easy to prep people so they present themselves as qualified and wanting to do the job. But, helping someone present himself/herself as likable and a culture fit is more difficult than you would think. You see, most people see themselves as friendly and easy to get along with. Few people are well-versed in how to present themselves that way.

But, what you think about yourself doesn’t matter. It’s how the interviewers feel about you.

If only we knew the critical factors that companies look for when trying to determine fit.

I found the factors in Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player. In this book, Lencioni addresses the question will they fit in and cites three critical factors that enable employers to make good hires.

I don’t want to just recommend the book. My simply recommending it won’t compel you to buy the book, nor will it change your behavior and help you prep for an interview.

I want you to understand the principles, but restating the plot and the model would take too long, and again, would not likely change your behavior.

Therefore, I decided I must provide a specific example who exemplifies Lencioni ‘s principles. But who?

And in this week’s news stories, I found the ideal team player to help me convey the principles of the book, The Ideal team Player---Tom Brady.

Yes, I refer to NFL quarterback Tom Brady; currently of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; previously quarterback of the New England Patriots.

Unless you’ve ignored the sport of American football for twenty years, you probably know of Tom Brady: Seven-time Super Bowl winner; been to the Super Bowl 10 times; 17 AFC East championships. All those in 20 years.

Lencioni ‘s first principle for hiring is: Hire smart people. Is Tom Brady Smart?

Brady is not considered the strongest or fastest QB in the game, but is considered by many to be possibly the smartest that the game has ever seen. He reads the opposing defense incredibly well; thinks incredibly fast, making adjustments mere seconds before the snap of the ball; and is famous for getting rid of the ball in three seconds or less. His IQ is said to be 150.

But, smart, for Lencioni encompasses more than just mental intelligence and education. It also includes emotional intelligence, commonly known as EQ, which determines how smartly one deals with other people. Lencioni states:

Ideal team players are smart. They have common sense about people. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.

Given the compliments about Brady over the course of 20 years and his ability to work with [the difficult] coach Belichick for so long, it’s pretty clear Brady has a high EQ and meets Lencioni’s definition.

Lencioni ‘s second principle for hiring is: Hire hungry people. Is Tom Brady hungry?

In 2005 Sixty Minutes reporter Steve Kroft asked Brady which ring was his favorite. Brady answered, “The next one.”

Sports reporter Anthony Galli wrote recently, “Tom Brady’s smart with an exceptional field awareness, and like all the greats in any field of life, he is EXTREMELY driven. It’s his CONSISTENT drive, in my opinion, that’s the great differentiator between Brady and the bunch.”

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who has been friends with Brady since they were teammates at Michigan from 1995-98, tweeted the day after the Super Bowl:

“I was just thinking back on something Tom Brady told me before the season: ‘A motivated Tom Brady is bad for the rest of the league,’ ” Feely added. “It always ends up with the same result: Tom Brady hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.”

In other words, Tom Brady is hungry.

Lencioni says:

Ideal team players are hungry. They are always looking for more. More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder, because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.

Given Brady’s underdog mentality---he has never gotten over being drafted #199—his desire to keep playing and how quickly he learned the Tampa system in 2020-2021, it’s pretty clear he meets Lencioni’s definition of hungry.

Brady’s hunger

Lencioni ‘s third principle for hiring is: Hire humble people. Is Tom Brady humble?

If you read the dictionary definition of humble, your initial reaction will be, “No way.”

But, Lencioni’s definition differs a bit from the dictionary’s:

Ideal team players are humble. They lack excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self and define success collectively rather than individually.

Consider the following quote by Brady’s father:

“Six weeks ago,” he said, ‘God, I’d love to win this thing; I’ve been there, I’ve done it six times, and a lot of these guys have never ever done it, and it would be so great to see their joy.’ And lo and behold, they all just jumped on the bandwagon and rode him to the Super Bowl together.”

Numerous Tampa teammates have cited examples of Brady’s comradery and credit him for changing the culture of what has historically been a losing organization. People want to be with people like that. For example, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown even followed Brady to Tampa.

On Sunday night after the big game, Bucs owner and co-chairman Joel Glazer said, “My father had an expression—'If you want to know the road ahead, ask the person who’s been there.’ Well, we found that person. Ten Super Bowl appearances and seven victories—Tom Brady!”

Finally, Brady has always been known as a guy who took less than market value in order to help spread the money around to other players on the Patriots.

Lencioni says, "If you get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time."

Tom Brady proved that on Sunday February 7, 2021. He is smart, hungry, and humble. He is a winner.

Companies want people like Tom Brady. Be like Tom Brady.

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Unknown member
Feb 19, 2021

Beautifully written Ed.

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