During my days as a salesman for Bell Atlantic Capital, a now defunct company due to it being an acquisition target multiple times, I enjoyed the camaraderie of my co-workers; respected my superiors and greatly admired the company’s leaders.
They fostered a fun and competitive environment, managing it in a way that inspired you to excel not just for monetary gain but also for pride – both individually and collectively.
That’s a delicate balance to maintain but the leaders did it very well.
Each year they rewarded salespeople who exceeded their goals with an outrageously extravagant vacation. They also awarded trophies and other keepsakes to capture that moment in time.
Once you had sipped from that proverbial cup of a champion, you never wanted to go a year without tasting its sweetness again and again.
Work friendships grew into very personal ones as repeat winners became accustomed to these annual vacations together. A feeling of “family” ensued.
Today, years later, those friendships remain despite the miles that separate us. There’s a connection that will stand the test of time.
When I listened to and watched the Ravens as they accepted their praises from President Obama and received their rings, I thought back to those days – days that I now realize I took for granted.
Steve Bisciotti with his class, selflessness, charm and self-deprecating ways reminds me of our company President. He is building something, shaping the Ravens organization every single day into something so unique that when you become part of it, once you step into the building, you never want to leave.
I’ve had the distinct honor to sit down with Steve over the past five years during our Ravens Rap Show in Ocean City, MD. Steve makes the annual trip out of respect to his friendship with Steve Pappas, the owner of The Original Greene Turtle and the executive producer of the show.
Each year you can sense that Bisciotti is growing in his role as an owner. He understands the game more. He has a greater awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the people who comprise his organization. He becomes more in tune with the business of football and given his professional experiences and upbringing, he’s a forward, outside-the-box thinker.
I’ve listened to him tell stories about his experiences working with Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh. Each story seems like a journey and at times you aren’t quite sure where he’s going but when he brings it to a close, you understand that the seemingly unrelated details that he’s used to paint the story and describe the journey, are important and help you to fully appreciate the meaning and intent.
I can only imagine what it would be like to work for the man and to be exposed to his unique view of the world on a regular basis.
He’s gifted and he is a gift to his organization, and for that matter all of the fans of Baltimore.
And it’s that gift, as stealth as he thinks he or it is, that becomes the glue. It is the single-most influencing factor in the building quietly guiding success; slowly building an organization that you really don’t want to leave or one that you can’t wait to get into.
Current players really don’t want to leave unless the money just forces them to.
Players on the outside looking in, hope that someday the stars align and they can get in.
Sometimes it’s about more than money.
It’s about the building you work in; the quality of people you work with; how a company cares about your family; how the company engages the community; how the company will host you at parties (post Super Bowl) and banquets (Ring Ceremony); how they shape an organizational mindset of winners; how they respect the past and their history.
The Ravens have all of that going on for them and more and it starts at the top.
Last night when greeting those in attendance at the ring ceremony, Bisciotti paid homage to Art Modell, recognizing that none of last night would be possible without Art and his lovely wife Pat.
“They touched us all,” Bisciotti said. “They made us believe we were special, and we get to pay them back.”
Here’s a man who has consistently distributed praise that was really his to accept and always respects the core competencies of those he employs. Why do you think he didn’t attend the White House ceremony? It wasn’t about political differences. Instead he wanted to allow Ozzie, John Harbaugh, the players and coaches to have that moment that he believed they deserved.
Would you want to work for a man like that?
Last night after receiving his ring Ray Lewis shared this.
“I always told them I wanted them to feel what that confetti felt like. To have something that symbolizes it, it’s the ultimate, because now it connects us forever.”
There’s little doubt that there will be more parties like last night’s for the Baltimore Ravens. They are just built that way. Their connectivity will stand the test of time, they will feel like family and it will positively influence their pursuit of the next ring, and the next.
And they can thank the unusually brilliant mind of a C-student from Salisbury University.
Steve Bisciotti, the quiet leader of the World Champion Baltimore Ravens.