7 Sales Leadership Lessons from Rams Coach Sean McVay

John Greene

April 25, 2024

9 min

Table of Contents

In 2001, Sean McVay was 15 years old and the St. Louis Rams lost in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.

18 years later, McVay would become the youngest coach in Super Bowl history. Again, it was the Rams versus the Patriots. And again the Patriots came out on top. But McVay undoubtedly had a lot to be proud of.

And... he proved that when it comes to leadership, personality and process is as important (if not more) than years of experience.

Today, we're taking a look at McVay's path and coaching process to highlight some powerful sales leadership lessons we can take from his impressive feat.

1. Hard Work Brings Success

Every head coach, player, and general manager in the NFL knows that Sean McVay is in his office by 4:00 a.m. every day to watch film, fix problems and put together game plans. A sales professional following McVay's lead would see that successful sales professionals work hard, pay attention to details, and lead by example.

2. There Are No Excuses For Not Doing Your Job

On a well-disciplined team like McVay's Rams, everyone has a job to do. When everyone understands what's expected of them, and performs their job to the best of their ability, the team will succeed. Of course, it takes a strong leader to inspire that kind of effort.

So true, in sales. Strong leaders make roles and responsibilities very clear from the outset. They see, and emphasize strengths, and empower people to perform to their best ability.

3. Lead with Confidence

As a young coach, Sean McVay has to convince experienced players his age or older that he can lead them. That requires a well-researched plan of attack, and unflagging confidence in your own ability, judgement, and experience.

4. Utilize The Talents Of Your Team

Sean McVay does not run the Rams like a dictatorship. He relies on the experience and talents of his coaching staff and players to solve problems, put together game plans and keep the team moving forward toward victory.

A smart sales coach does the same. Encourage input from anywhere on your team. Let people problem-solve when they can, and inspire leaders to rise from within.

5. Be The Model Of Accountability

A strong leader not only learns from their mistakes, but they let it be known they they are accountable for their actions. When it comes to accountability for the Rams' play on the field, it begins and ends with McVay.

Accountability should be front and center in your sales organization as well. Set expectations, measure performance, and hold your team to task. But make it clear that you do the same for yourself.

6. Set Rules, and Follow Them

Respect is earned for any leader, and Sean McVay needs to earn the respect of his players if he is going to be successful. He does that by establishing rules for conduct that create the team culture, and then abiding by those rules, evenly, for every player, including himself. If a player is even five minutes late to a Rams' meeting, that player is fined no matter who he is - even if he's the coach.

Does your team feel like you practice like you preach? Do they feel that the rules are applied to everyone on the team equally? You'll experience greater loyalty and more success when they do.

7. Handle Adversity Well, Rise to Every Challenge

When Sean McVay gets handed a challenge or faces adversity, he doesn't shy away from it. He examines it and meets it head-on, with careful planning and implementation. Your sales team will be watching to see how you greet challenges, and your response will be instrumental in shaping their behavior and ability to handle adversity. In sales, that goes a long, long way.

Sales Leadership Lessons From Sean McVay

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay became the youngest coach of all time to reach a Super Bowl. That just goes to show that when it comes to leadership, experience isn't everything.

Here are some powerful takeaways from McVay's impressive run that will help you lead your sales team to success.

  • Success comes from hard work and focus effort
  • There are no excuses for not doing your job
  • Let your leadership experience add power to your voice
  • Always utilize the diverse talents of your team
  • Be the model of accountability
  • Always follow the rules you establish for the team
  • Handle adversity well and rise to challenges
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