Aegis Performance Tales from the Road

From Bridge Chair to Grid Iron: Philadelphia Eagles Take Command of Their Ship

The offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles led his crew like a well-run ship all the way to the Super Bowl. With the common goal of winning professional football’s most prized trophy, they won the coveted Lombardi Trophy this year.

Coach Jeff Stoutland told Sports Illustrated that when he left Alabama University to join the Eagles in 2013, “he was a my-way-or-the-highway hardass. Then he read It’s Your Ship, a book of management techniques by Capt. Michael Abrashoff, a former Navy commander. Suddenly Eagles linemen were being encouraged to interrupt meetings, disagree about techniques and suggest strategy changes. ‘I don’t want robots in here,’ Stoutland told them. ”

Mike Abrashoff was recently invited to speak with the 2018 Super Bowl Champions at a private event held for all the players and team operation members. He is honored by the chance to meet with the team and hopes to further inspire players by discussing strategies for building upon their success.

Coaching, at its core, is a leadership role. Stoutland enacted the concept of enabling each lineman to perform his best and work together. By engaging the entire team – both physically and mentally – in the process of improvement, he helped lead the team to the top of their profession.

Effective coaches know that they aren’t the ones out on the field scoring touchdowns. They must inspire each player to commit to common goals. What Stoutland, and the Eagles, learned was that organizational transformation isn’t about commanding the different team members. Success as a group is only possible when the leader creates a culture of ownership and empowerment.

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