Monday, May 16, 2011
What's your motivation? A look inside Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Some might think professional athletes shouldn't need motivational slogans and buzzwords to get moving, remain committed and stay on task.
But anyone who follows NFL players on Twitter knows inspirational messages are important to them.
Bill Parcells is a big believer in such tactics. He'll even use props for his players, once leaving a gas can at Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams' locker stall with a note that asked the thirtysomething Williams if he had anything left in the tank.
These messages are like fuel and can help change a team's culture.
Shortly after Parcells took over the 1-15 Dolphins, he had this message painted prominently on a wall in the locker room:
Water gets hot at 211 degrees. Water boils at 212 degrees. From boiling water comes steam. Steam can power a locomotive.
I've always taken note of the words stenciled on locker room walls because it's a glimpse inside an organizational philosophy.
Last week, the Buffalo Bills gave reporters a rare look inside their inner sanctum. Rather than hold a news conference to announce changes to their front office, the Bills welcomed us into their team meeting room, which doubles as their draft room at that time of year.
It looks very much like a college lecture hall, with a large screen in front and rows of tables and chairs that elevate toward the back room. On the walls are motivational messages the Bills' organization want its players to embrace as they try to evolve into winners:
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
Plays are more fun than fundamentals. Fundamentals are more important than plays.
To be successful you don't have to do extraordinary things. Just do the ordinary things extraordinarily well.
The star of the team is the team.
Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.
The will to win is important. However, the will to prepare is vital.
The general themes that stand out are "Take care of your responsibilities" and "Don't be selfish."
You might look at it as nothing more than rah-rah talk, but it's interesting to get a better sense of what a team feels are it's most important internal objectives.