Culture Will Beat Scheme Every Day

Over the past six months people have shared their opinions on the National Football League and all of their off the field problems. Today, I want to focus on a positive both on and off the football field. Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Eagles beat their rival New York Giants 27-0 on Sunday Night Football. This after a week full of trash talk from the Giants and a pre-game celebration on the Eagles logo at mid-field. This win is not the story though, even though the Giants scored no points.

The story of this game, of this season and of last, is Chip Kelly, the Head Coach of the Eagles. I have written two other blogs about Chip Kelly discussing his different approach to coaching in the NFL. Before the Sunday Night Game against the Giants, Chip Kelly (who was mic’d) told someone that “Culture will beat scheme every day.” 

That one line is what separates Chip Kelly from other coaches. It is why I see Kelly as a CEO, a leader, and an innovator more than I see him as a coach. “Kelly’s biggest innovations don’t involve football tactics at all. They are ways to clarify and communicate a vision for your team, an understanding of the prime importance of executing your plans, and a system for building a powerful humility into the structure of your organization” (exert from The Tao Of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit).

Chip Kelly has transformed the Philadelphia Eagles organization both on and off the field. He has turned around the results by turning around the culture. He has done this by building up leaders throughout his team. He surrounded himself with a great staff and he actually let’s them do their jobs. He has his way of doing things that he knows will work, but rather than just telling players and coaches this is how we operate, he explains to them WHY he wants them to do it. He understands that you tell WHY to important people, and you tell WHAT or HOW to unimportant people. This tells people what you think of them.

People continue to talk about how Chip Kelly is changing the NFL. But when talking about this, they usually site his scheme, or the way he runs practice. Chip Kelly is changing the NFL, but not on the field. He is illustrating the overwhelming importance of culture. It is not about scheme or strategy. It is not about the best players. It is about the right players that will fully buy-in.

Chip Kelly wants members of his team that want to grow, much like we talk about at SOS Leadership. Growth and Culture go hand-in-hand. Right after those things comes improved performance and results. And sometimes,  you even get to blow out a rival like the Giants who talked trash all week  prior to the game and then went out and scored no points. Maybe they are in need of a culture change.

2 thoughts on “Culture Will Beat Scheme Every Day

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