Okay, I admit it. I am not a sports fanatic. However, I do enjoy attending sporting events (my personal favorite is The Lakers) and I have spent many a Monday night watching football and Sunday afternoons watching golf. So, as we head toward February 7, I find myself spending more time thinking about the SUPER BOWL and the game of football than I otherwise would be.
So I asked my sister, Jackie, who is really a sports nut, for her insight on the Super Bowl. She said, “Karen – the Super Bowl is really about Leadership. Leadership, teamwork and working toward a common goal. All the qualities that get two teams to the Super Bowl, are those same things that we practice every day in our regular lives, as business owners.”
So, as I get ready to watch the Indianapolis Colts play the New Orleans Saints, I think there must be a lot of analogies to any business.
No team ever got to the Super Bowl without great leadership. Coaches always have a season-long goal. They don’t say “let’s win games this season to make us feel good.” They say, “We’re going to the Super Bowl (big visionary goal) and to get there, we have to win every game.” They hire great assistant coaches (department managers, if you’re running a company). Each assistant coach has a specialty (offense, defense, etc.), just like each manager does. They assess their players and train them to be the best. They video tape their teams playing, so they can help them improve their performance. They never stop practicing. And honest feedback on each player’s performance is a given. (Think: performance reviews.)
Unless you are a golfer, it’s always about the team and teamwork (but even golfers have caddies). Sure, the Head Coach has his first-string players, but he always has a back-up player for every position. Because what if a player gets injured? You always have to have a contingency plan. Your bench has to be deep. Although the quarterbacks throw the ball and get a lot of visibility, it’s the whole team working together (offense and defense) that wins the game. We have all experienced working in an organization where other team members “have your back.” It makes all the difference in the world to have a team where everyone has a specialty function, yet they all share the team’s goal.
Working Toward A Common Goal
Every football team starts the season with the same goal – to get to the Super Bowl. Similarly, every company starts its year with financial goals and goals to grow their business by landing new accounts.
Thanks to Jackie’s explanation, I have a new perspective on the Super Bowl. I have a lot more admiration for the coaches. And in the particular case of the New Orleans Saints, they are a team and a city that has come from the horrible setback of Hurricane Katrina. It seems to me that as I watched the last few minutes of New Orleans defeating Minnesota, the game was symbolic of the rebuilding of The Big Easy. And, Jackie just reminded me that New Orleans has NEVER been to the Super Bowl. There is a lot to be said for persistence.
So, may the best team win on February 7. I will definitely be watching the game with a new found appreciation for the Super Bowl and what it stands for.