Leadership lesson from the Philadelphia Eagles

Posted by Monica A. Tierney, MBA, MEd., CPRE at 02/27/2023

After watching the Superbowl, I thought to myself what makes the Eagles so loveable and successful as an organization even with a disappointing result. I believe much of it is their brotherhood, the very ethos of the organization and its culture.

Every organization has a culture within it where people are driven to meet like goals and have shared beliefs and expectations. It is the heartbeat of your organization, what makes it tick and what makes it successful.

Organizational culture starts with leadership. Jeffery Laurie, the Eagles Franchise owner, believes from the top down that everyone on his team is important to the success of the franchise. Laurie is known and often quoted discussing the culture of the Eagles organization. Culture is important to him, and he lets everyone know about it.

While the Eagles franchise may not be comparable to municipal work this philosophy can still be applied to Parks and Recreation. If you want to be successful, then surround yourself with good people. If you can hire, hire people who will work within your team. If your staff is not living up to expectations, then talk to them and train them.  

Have you ever considered your organizational culture?

A great way to get started is imperative that you inspire your team toward one unified mission, vision, and goal. Create opportunities for all your staff to have a successful season or year whatever it might be.

As a leader, it is important to elicit feedback from your staff about their feeling about your organization.  If you identify a problem within the organization, then develop a plan to address concerns. This will take time and consistency. Repeat this regularly to provide continued success within your team.  

While I watched the game, I saw similarities with my team and the time we spent together completing the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The time we spent allowed us to pay close attention to the culture of the Township and its Staff. With time, the staff knows they are all equally important to the success of the team no matter what their role.

Having the single purpose of completing Accreditation for the betterment of the township taught our team to show up for each other, cheer each other on and support each other when things were hard. Furthermore, we actively engage our elected officials, our Township staff, Township Committees, volunteers, interns, and anyone who we could inspire to be involved we asked to help. We created a culture of high expectations, success, and celebrated all milestones, big and little, together as a community.  

CAPRA can be considered the Superbowl of Parks and Recreation. It takes years of planning, training, and building your team and preparing for one trip that could make or break your organization. You will have wins and losses that will equip you for success in the future. Recently, in 2022 our Agency became the first agency in Pennsylvania to achieve CAPRA Accreditation. It all started with a small team to inspire a community to make it happen.