• Joe Rizzo. Director of the New England Lean

From the Director’s Chair: Who’s your coach?

I waited for the Super Bowl to be over to write this article. I was hoping to use Tom Brady’s sixth Super Bowl win as an example of someone who uses a coach to help him constantly improve his performance to be a superb athlete and a consistent winner. Even though Tom had a career game with over 500 yards passing, the New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52.

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans for their first Super Bowl victory.

I can still use Tom Brady as an example of someone who uses a personal coach to maintain his health and strength and improve his performance year after year to be able to play at the top of his game at age 40.

Brady Bellichik

Born on August 3, 1977, in San Mateo, California, Tom Brady excelled at both football and baseball at Junipero Serra High School. After graduating in 1995, Brady passed up a chance to play professional baseball to go to the University of Michigan.

Although a member of the Michigan’s football team, Brady did not spend much time on the field in his first two college seasons. In his junior year, however, was the starting quarterback. That season, Brady threw 350 passes for 2,636 yards. In his final season, he helped lead Michigan to an Orange Bowl victory.

Tom Brady was a sixth round draft pick in the NFL draft. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Initially he served as a backup quarterback and played in only one game during his first season. The 2001 season was a different story. After starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured, Brady took over, proving himself a strong leader with a powerful arm. Anyone who doubted his abilities only had to look at the team's record, an impressive 11 wins to 3 losses in the 14 games that Brady started. In the post-season, he helped the team secure a win over the St. Louis Rams at Super Bowl XXXVI, and Brady received the game's MVP award.

Two years later, Brady led his team to another win at Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers. For his efforts, he won his second Super Bowl MVP Award. And in the 2004 season, Brady once again led the team to Super Bowl victory, taking down the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21. In 2005, Brady signed a new six-year contract with the Patriots, and for the 2006 season, the team had a 12-4 record in the regular season.

The following year the star quarterback led the Patriots through an undefeated regular season. The team faced off against the New York Giants at Super Bowl XLII but lost to their rival in a close game.

Tom has a personal trainer, Alex Guerrero. The two met in 2008, when Tom Brady blew out his ACL. It was Guerrero who worked him back to health in record time. Brady and Guerrero have been inseparable ever since, with the then, 39-year-old, crediting his athletic longevity to the trainer.

Over the course of his NFL career, the 40-year-old quarterback has adopted a notoriously restricted and regimented diet, as part of his overall philosophy toward health and fitness.

In Brady’s book, “The TB 12 Method”, Tom outlines what an average day of eating and working out is like in his shoes, or cleats, or Uggs (Tom’s clothing line).

As he has done in the past, Brady advocates eating “real foods” and achieving balance — almost to an extreme. And while the outline indeed hawks a number of Brady’s pricey self-branded nutrition products, it also provides a first-person account of the eating habits that have fascinated and flummoxed his fans. For more, on Tom’s eating program, read the book.

The point of this article is not to idolize Tom Brady, but to point out the need to work with a coach or coaches to constantly improve, to perform at the top of your game, and to maintain a positive attitude and WIN.

We all know about the coaches in professional sports. It seems like there is a coach for every skill position in Football, Baseball, Hockey and Basketball. In professional Football, there are Offensive coaches and defensive coaches, along with assistant coaches.

The coaches for the New England Patriots are:

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator

  • Quarterbacks Coach

  • Assistant Quarterbacks Coach

  • Running Backs Coach

  • Wide Receivers Coach

  • Tight Ends Coach

  • Offensive Line Coach

  • Offensive Assistant Coach

  • Coaching Assistant Coach

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator

  • Defensive Line Coach

  • Linebackers Coach

  • Cornerbacks Coach

  • Safeties Coach

  • Defensive Assistant Coach

  • Coaching Assistant

In Major League Baseball there are the following coaches:

  • Pitching Coach

  • Hitting Coach

  • Bull Pen Coach

  • Bench Coach

  • First Base Coach

  • Third Base Coach

  • Athletic Trainer

  • Strength and Conditioning Coach

I think it is safe to say that most of us are Sports Fans. We spend a lot of time watching Sports games. We spend a lot of money on team jerseys and other team paraphernalia. We allow our children to participate in sports and we encourage them to have a favorite sports hero.

So with all the emphasis on, and admiration for, professional sports, why don’t we carry those same principles that make professional sports so competitive and so successful, into our place of work?

Some high level executives have personal career coaches. Some key executives work with coaches from Vistage, Inc. But, that is the extent of having personal coaches in the business world. Both are for the senior executives only. What about the workers, the Value-

Add people?

What coaches to we have for the skill positions in Business and Industry? Do you have a coach for Quality? Do you have a coach for Operations? Who’s your coach for Safety? Do you have a coach for Customer Service? Do you have a coach for Maintenance? Who comes in on a regular basis and works with your people to improve their performance?

We do send our people for some specific training, or we send them to seminars and workshops. But does anyone really benefit from these one-time events, or is it just something else we can check off at performance appraisal time?

Who is coming into your facility, on a regular basis, to draw a circle on the floor and stand there for an hour or two, to notice and record all the waste that is taking place? Or, who is videotaping the factory floor and then analyzing what is going on during the day or during that hour?

Ever take a golf lesson? One of the first things that a Golf Pro does is video tape your golf swing, and then analyze it with you. Subtle changes, small changes, can make a big improvement in your golf game. The same thing applies to business. Small, incremental improvements can add up to make a big improvement in your metrics.

Kaizens are a way to make small changes with resulting small improvements. How many Kaizens do you conduct per year, per quarter, per month, per week, per day? Just as a point of reference, while I was in Jacksonville as the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Lean Consortium, I had the privilege or working with Jerry Bussell, Vice President of Global Operations at Medtronic. Jerry worked with his people to organize and conduct forty (40) Kaizens per week. Does anyone come anywhere near that pace, today? During my last year at LeanJax, Jerry told me that he was increasing the rate to eighty (80) Kaizens per week. Is that even possible? It is when you have total engagement of the workforce in problem solving and contributing improving ideas.

This is what it takes to be competitive and to be successful in today’s highly competitive world.

What’s in your wallet? I mean Lean Program.

Note: Joe purposely writes controversial articles and expresses strong opinions to stimulate discussion. Joe welcomes feedback, comments, and opposing views to his articles. Please email joe here