Takes No Talent
This week, we take a break from our regularly scheduled Patriots programming to look at the other end of the football spectrum: the Miami Dolphins. We can all agree that the Dolphins are not having the best start to their season, currently sitting at 0-4 with a historically worst -137 point differential.
That said, there are still some lessons to be learned from the team, especially first-year head coach Brian Flores. The former Defensive Coordinator for the Patriots (we can’t stray too far from the Pats…) is big into mantras and one of the most common among the Dolphins is T.N.T. which stands for “Takes No Talent”. T.N.T. highlights how many things do not take any talent at all, just effort, discipline, and focus. The acronym is prominently displayed on a wall at the Dolphins practice facility, and when a player makes a T.N.T. mistake, they must run and touch the wall. These days, there are a lot of people running back and forth from the field to the wall.
Head coach Flores explains the mantra:
“‘I tell my players this — I can go out there and get conditioned if I just go out there and run every day. I’m not going to do that, not like they do; but I could do that. Any of us in here can do that. That really takes no talent; it just takes hard work, effort,’ Flores said. ‘Everybody talks about, ‘This guy is talented; that guy is talented.’ The talent on the team and a lot of things in this game come down to focus, execution, not making a bad penalty. Really, that’s not a talent issue. It’s a focus issue; it’s a mindset issue. I try to, and us as a staff, we try to make an emphasis of those specific things. Things that take no talent, I think those are the details that help you win games.'”
For our team of small businesses, there are plenty of things that our companies do that are hard and require talent. Developing a new dough formulation, designing a beautiful new landscape, organizing a snow operation in the middle of a blizzard, or getting a deal to the finish line don’t come easy. But, there are also plenty of other things that happen daily in our businesses that take no skill, only effort, attitude, and attention to detail.
Of course, change does not happen overnight and the Dolphins coaching staff acknowledges this effort to instill accountability and set a higher standard is an ongoing process. We feel similarly but also believe that a culture of discipline — one that embraces the ideology behind T.N.T. — attracts and enhances talent. Winners, after all, generally do not like to be around sloppy people who have low standards. So on those days when we are performing like the 2019 Dolphins, we try to remain focused on doing the little things right and not sacrificing our standard for excellence regardless of what’s happening on the field.