Russell Reynolds Associates Reaches The Super Bowl
Leadership StrategiesLeadershipExecutive SearchAssessment and Benchmarking
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Leadership StrategiesLeadershipExecutive SearchAssessment and Benchmarking

Against the backdrop of the New England Patriots' appearance in this year's Super Bowl, Russell Reynolds Associates and Dean Stamoulis are featured in a recently released book about the Patriots head coach, one of the most accomplished coaches in NFL history. The book, War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team, addresses the role of leadership in driving success in the NFL. 

In War Room, Stamoulis is highlighted as a key component in the search for a new General Manager for the Atlanta Falcons. As part of the search that was completed in 2008, Dean assessed over a dozen candidates before interviewing the successful candidate, Thomas Dimitroff of the New England Patriots: 

After a few minutes, Stamoulis, who has a background in industrial and organizational psychology, saw beneath the superficial surface and found what he considered to be Dimitroff’s brilliance….He was able to show his smarts and flexibility by talking about the game of football for a few minutes and then showing an understanding of football business ten minutes later. 

Dimitroff has subsequently been named the “NFL’s Executive of the Year” two out of the past three years. The work by Dean and the firm that is profiled in the book demonstrates the rising due diligence of sports organizations in executive hiring and leadership assessment. Inside connections and old-boy networks no longer provide access to the top positions. Instead, sports professionals are likely to receive the same treatment as business leaders – a focus on competencies, a proven track record and a strong cultural fit. 

Internal leadership development is also going far beyond the ad-hoc methods of the past. Stamoulis recently presented on using self-assessment for career progression at the NFL Leadership Lecture Series, highlighting that aspiring leaders must proactively manage their careers to progress within sports organizations. War Room’s author Michael Holley points out that the sports industry has now recognized that Super bowls are not just won on the day of the final or even during the draft, but during the selection and development of the leaders who will drive the organization to success.