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Grow with Grunder: Why this year can be your year

February 22, 2022 -  By
Team with trophy (Photo:


3 Takeaways for Your Team from the Bengals Super Bowl Run

Although Super Bowl LVI has come and gone, I’m still in awe that my Cincinnati Bengals played for the NFL title this year for the first time in more than three decades. I’m the definition of a long-suffering Bengals fan, watching the games every Sunday, even when we only won two games in 2019. This year was different, folks, and it’s remarkable to say the Bengals went from the worst team in the NFL to a championship contender in just two seasons.

Even though they didn’t come out on top, I think there’s a lot to learn from their run that we can apply to our companies.

1. Believe in yourself and your team.

Our quarterback Joe Burrow expressed frustration that his team was branded as the underdog after the win against Tennessee in the divisional round of the playoffs. The locker room and the fans back home knew something others didn’t know yet: The Bengals had something special. Tuning out the naysayers and being confident in their abilities were a big part of the team’s success.

It’s amazing what’s possible with just a bit of self-confidence. Listen to your trusted advisers, believe in yourself, put your faith in your team and execute your plans.

2. Train in real-world conditions.

Before the Bengals went to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, Cincinnati practiced outside in low temperatures and with the speakers at Paul Brown Stadium blaring crowd noise so loud that security was apologizing to the neighbors. To the best of their ability, the team simulated what it would be like to play in the actual game, so they’d be ready when they arrived at Arrowhead Stadium.

At your company, does your training reflect real-world applications? Are you helping your team prepare for the conditions and situations they’ll come across on job sites and in their roles? While some theoretical training is helpful, hands-on training in the field is the most effective.

3. The “it” factor makes all the difference.

What really propelled this Bengals team to the top of the league was its chemistry. The players are supportive, they cheer one another on and they move on quickly when there’s a mistake or a bad play.

Joe Burrow was sacked nine times against the Titans, and we didn’t see him yelling at his teammates for it afterward. We saw him get up, dust himself off and move on to the next play. The team doesn’t bad mouth one another, the organization or the referees. They focus on what they can control — themselves!

Your company culture is that “it” factor. Having a constructive way to manage challenges separates good companies from great companies. Focus on finding solutions and moving forward over dwelling on who is to blame.

Despite the loss to the Rams, the Bengals are coming home to a fanbase that’s excited because we can see what makes them special. They invest in building their team by adding players and by creating a supportive work environment, and we know they’ll keep doing that in the off-season. There will be many more lessons we’ll learn from this team in the years to come.

Who Dey!

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Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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