A few weeks ago I was listening to Colin Cowherd (on ESPN Radio) and he was discussing how much more challenging it was to be a quarterback now than 20-30 years ago. As I listened to him give his thoughts on the differences and how quarterbacks today needed to be able to read situations quickly and make multiple decisions in a short amount of time, I couldn’t help but think that this was quite similar to working in leadership role in business today.
It doesn’t matter how large or small the business is, the same challenges present themselves:
- The speed at which we are required to work is tremendous (and will probably continue to increase)
- The rate of change can be unnerving at times
- Our ability to be successful is dependent on others over whom we may or may not have direct authority (clients, customers, co-workers, teammates…)
That being said, here are some of the ways that leaders of business can learn from those guiding the offense on Saturdays & Sundays:
- Managing personalities is part of the job – Everybody has them and some require more attention than others. The key here is to know when the cost has outweighed the benefit.
- Play calling is an art – With all of the information available today, the competition knows your strengths & weaknesses. The key is not necessarily to develop new plays but to use what you have in a unique fashion that leverages your strengths in the current environment (that could change at any time)
- Experience creates confidence – This is just a fact. Once you have been in the fire, you begin to understand how it works. There is absolutely no substitute for experience.
- Situational awareness & pattern recognition can keep you in the game – Being aware and able to process information quickly can allow you to see those things are dangerous and take advantage of opportunities. Most of the time, these reactions are so quick we act without conscious thought.
- “Calling an audible” is risky but has to be done – The play you called in the huddle may need to be changed once you scan the environment. The key here is for the team to be flexible and nimble so that when you change the play at the last minute, they know where they need to be.
- When you win, you should take less than your share of the credit & when you lose, you should take more than your share of the blame
- Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line
Catch a game this weekend and watch the quarterbacks. Become a student for those few hours and watch how they direct & control the team.
Just be glad that you don’t have to do your job on national television and have your performance picked apart every Monday morning.