Talking Seahawks: 3 Ways to Get a New Team Member Up to Speed

Posted on: September 8th, 2018 by Jen Mueller

Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin made headlines even before he was drafted. His story and accomplishments touched people around the world regardless of their interest in football.

You’ll know exactly who he is on the field. He’s the player missing a left hand. And now he’s starting in the NFL.

As someone who follows the Seahawks as their sideline radio reporter, I know he’s more than a good story. He’s a heck of a football player. (He wouldn’t get a chance to start for the Seahawks if he wasn’t.)

Griffin has the skill and the talent to start in the NFL and he’s had the right conversations with teammates to get prepared. The entire Seahawks defense knows it’s in their best interest to get Griffin up to speed as quick as possible.

The way you approach conversations with new colleagues or new teammates determines not only their success but your productivity.

Here’s how the Seahawks approached getting the rookie up to speed and the business lessons that apply to any workplace.

3 Ways to Get a New Team Member Up to Speed

  1. Communication is Key. Defensive captain Bobby Wagner said the entire defense will need to over communicate to make sure Griffin know his responsibilities on every play. He’s getting the start because K.J. Wright is recovering from knee surgery. No one expects Griffin, a rookie, to play with the same way Wright would, but they’re going to make it as easy as possible for him, and put the team in the best position to win.

The Lesson: It doesn’t benefit anyone to make a colleague or teammate figure it out on their own. Be willing to talk and help him/her through the process.


  1. Talking Increases the Comfort Level. Wagner routinely quizzes Griffin during practice. The ongoing dialogue not only encourages Griffin to be a part of the conversation but enables him to be comfortable in approaching Wagner with a question/observation/feedback.

The Lesson: The more you talk with (not to) colleagues the more comfortable they become in initiating a conversation with you, which makes it easier to keep the lines of communication open.


  1. Simplify the Language. Griffin flashed in his first preseason game, then tailed off a little and admitted he was trying to do too much. The solution? Well, according to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, they simplified the language and the Griffin’s objectives. The shift in communication allowed him to react more and think less on the field.

The Lesson: If people don’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t know what to do. Using big words or fancy terms doesn’t do you any good if people don’t know what you’re talking about. (My friend Debbie Page recently wrote about how this costs entrepreneurs money.) Simplify the language and objectives so the people around you can take action.


Jen Mueller is the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, she talks a lot of football, but she also hears a lot of business lessons buried in the weekly press conference and interviews. Throughout the season she’ll provide a few of those insights and demonstrate how sports conversations can improve business communication.