Tom Brady Principle

The "Tom Brady Principle" questions the common practice of elevating high performers in an organization into management roles. The argument imagines a hypothetical situation in which New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, after having won the SuperBowl and an MVP award, would be offered a "promotion" into a role as general manager of the team.

Instead of promoting top performers, organizations should compensate individuals according to their performance and contributions regardless of their title. The Tom Brady Principle says that success and corporate ladder-climbing should be decoupled from one another; there should be pathways for individuals who excel at leadership and coaching as well as those who are expert contributors. Authority does not equal performance; promotions are not the best way to unlock creativity and innovation.


  • § Innovation - Effective innovation must be facilitated by the structure of the organization


Milerd, Paul. “The Tom Brady Principle: Don’t Promote Your Best People.” Boundless: Beyond The Default Path (blog), November 4, 2018.