By Jonathan Stiles | March 15, 2019

Few things kill a team’s chances at a successful year faster than a fractured locker room. A team of feuding superstars acting as individuals will be quickly dispatched by a team full of lesser skilled players willing to march towards the end of the line for their teammates. There is a good chance that you have seen this mirrored in your life. Whether it was in sport, business or your personal life, it will be there. It doesn’t matter what level of talent you were naturally given, if you try and fight the fight alone, you will fail. There’s no way around it.

Recently, we saw a great example of the dangerous impact a talented individual acting out of self interest can have on the success of a team.

Objectively one of the greatest wide receivers currently playing in the NFL, Antonio Brown is the archetypal villainous superstar player slowly killing his team from the inside out. His beef with Steelers started with fan favourite and quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who in a post-game interview in November of 2018, called out Brown for a route error that Roethlisberger believed to have cost Pittsburgh the game. Brown then added more fuel to the fire by taking it to social media and an ESPN interview, where, amongst a colourful interview, stated that Roethlisberger should have thrown a better ball. This was not the first, nor would it be the last time Brown had taken to social media to talk ill of a teammate, or the organization as a whole.

Brown then shifted his focus to Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin. Brown hinted that Tomlin deemed him to be the fall guy for ‘quitting’ on the team before the season ended. In January of 2019 Brown’s behavior forced Tomlin into a press release, where he addressed the situation and noted that any player, no matter their skill and/or impact on a team, can “certainly” become more trouble than he is worth.

This reminds me of the now cliché ancient African proverb, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” The issue the Steelers faced is they did have an enemy within, and they knew his name. There is a good chance that in the 2019/20 NFL season the Steelers will struggle at times to replace the production Brown brought to the lineup. However, if you were to ask someone in the organization, they would probably tell you that is an issue that they don’t mind dealing with. Brown made it clear that he didn’t buy into the Steelers’ vision and no longer wanted to be a part of the team. Despite his elite performance on the field, there is no telling what kind of negative impact he had on the organization and his teammates. Now that Brown is the responsibility of the Oakland Raiders, the Steelers can focus on repairing their locker room culture.

The lesson here is clear: it’s hard to sail around the world if you never pull up the anchor. Good people and good attitudes equal good results regardless of talent level and bad people, well, I think we have seen what happens there.

Here is what Cosmos Director of Sales and Service Justin Bernardo had to say about the situation;

“Culture and work ethic are both integral facets of any successful workplace environment. At Cosmos, an individual’s attitude, integrity and work ethic are pillars of our business and always valued over results. Culture is king.”