Successful businesses run like Super Bowl teams. That may sound strange but hear me out.
I love sports, especially my Minnesota Vikings – SKOL! I love sitting on my couch and watching the kick-off with my family on Sundays. The hype, the crowd, the beer, it all comes together to make a great day.
But I also love the mechanics behind the game. Players, coaches, staff – everyone is working together to achieve a common goal. In that aspect, football offers one of the best analogies, and playbooks, for business owners.
The “Four Quarters” Strategy
Football games follow a standard 15-minutes per quarter. Why does that matter? Because strategy shifts throughout a game. A team can be as prepared for their game as humanly possible – watch film, scout players, analyze the starting line-up – but play changes once the game begins. Coaches, and players, analyze and adjust their plan based on previous downs. And circumstances can change in an instant with the injury of a key component. While shifting on the fly is essential, the breakdown of the quarters offers set times for adjustments, especially when you hit the 2-minute mark. So how are you going to run your team once the clock starts?
Are you going to be the cocky quarterback? All talk, no plan? Wing it and wish for the best? Or are you going to dig in with your team, make adjustments and get the job done? As an owner, you are the quarterback of your team, whether you like it or not. You don’t get to sit on the sidelines or watch from your couch. You have to make the tough calls, especially come crunch time near the end of the quarter. And the 4th quarter is coming at you like a crazed linebacker. Luckily for you, you’re not going to be left unprotected.. unless you’re running a quarterback sneak, but I digress.
Counting on the Line
The offensive line is one of the most underrated and underappreciated components of a football team, in my opinion. They push back the defense. They defend the quarterback against an onslaught. They work tirelessly without really anything to show for it. Don’t get me wrong. Running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, they’re all important too. But the line holds a special place in my heart.
As a business owner, who has your back? The people that you choose to surround yourself with is the first and most important decision you should make. When you gather to review the numbers from Q3, please take a second to look around the room and confirm that each person should be there. If not, you need to start making arrangements for next year. And that’s when you look to your coach.
Coaching Staff is Essential
If you don’t already have a set of professionals, you need one. Super Bowl teams don’t make it to the Super Bowl without a great coaching staff, and especially without a great Head Coach. Get that group in place, listen to what they have to say and follow their playbook. As the quarterback, you always have the option to audible, but start with the basics and work with your coaches to create a playbook fit to your strengths, and one that also acknowledges your weaknesses.
The last quarter of the year is going to be rough. You’ve already faced adversity, overcome uncertainty, and advanced the ball down the field. However, this unpredictable year isn’t done. When it comes down to the wire, stop and survey the field. Review how you’ve gotten this far and what obstacles (no matter how drastic) can stand between you and the goal line. Rely on your line to protect you, listen to your coaches and make the play call as the quarterback of your team. You can still win the year, even if you may not physically get to play in the Super Bowl.
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