I was born into a Green Bay Packers family. I have cheered for the Packers my entire life. There were even a few childhood birthday wishes centered around Green Bay’s success…or Chicago’s failure. I’m proud to say I have successfully made my two daughters into Packers fans. It has been 26 years since I’ve missed watching a game.
So, why the passion…or is it obsession? And what does it have to do with business?
- The Thrill Of Competition - As a fan, we are part of the team. We get to experience the highs of winning and the pain of losing each season. Within each season, we have at least 16 opportunities to ride the rollercoaster of dreams, expectations, and results. In business, we get the chance to experience the same thrill by cheering for colleagues to excel in his/her given role. Individual success is important on each play in order to achieve the desired result for the team.
- The Thrill Of The Draft - The NFL has turned the draft into must-see TV. It is a chance to watch how each team further enhances a position of strength, shores up a weakness, or makes a pick for the future (forgoing immediate impact). Too many “misses” on talent can hamstring a football team for many years. Organizations have the same opportunity to bring in new talent to help the team. The battle for the talent can be fierce because the next special talent can be a difference maker for an organization. Sustainable growth in business will naturally create opportunities to bring on new talent. Taking advantage of those opportunities is often the difference between first and second place.
- The Thrill Of Talent Development – Most players aren’t superstars the moment they step onto the field as a rookie. There is typically a progression. Mike McCarthy, former Packers head coach, would always talk about players making the 2nd year jump. He was referring to the player learning the team culture, the offensive/defensive system, and the details of their position. He was acknowledging the importance of an onboarding and training plan. While a team may need to bring in a free agent to address a need, the most successful teams are able to develop their internal talent. Organizations which excel in growing and investing in internal talent have a significant advantage in continuity. When playing the infinite game, continuity can only be beneficial in achieving goals.
- The Thrill Of Detail – Football is a game of inches. A receiver who runs a route 6 inches short of the goal line can be the difference between last minute heroics or defeat. The choreography of a play is paramount to its success. If the timing and execution is off, the whole play can fall apart. I’d suggest competitors in an industry have a very similar understanding and vision of what it will take to be the best. The ability to take the winning vision and choreograph what needs to be done at all levels of the organization is often the secret to a winning initiative. An understanding of the smallest details can create the greatest competitive advantages. Just ask NFL coaches who typically work 100 hours per week during the season to find the detail that puts them over the top each week.
- The Thrill Of How The Ball Bounces – Sometimes the ball takes a funny bounce. As a Packers fan, the ball took a funny bounce in the NFC Championship game…it cost us a trip to the Super Bowl. The Packers weren’t able to adjust and move past the funny bounce…it changed the momentum of the game. If it wasn’t clear, I am still haunted by the 2014 NFC Championship game defeat. I think 2020 took a funny bounce for most businesses. All businesses have had to find a way to adjust and succeed in the new normal.
- The Thrill Of Success – The elation of seeing the Packers raise the Super Bowl trophy twice in my lifetime were great experiences. It is a moment for the team, fans, community to celebrate all the hard work that goes with winning a championship. The Super Bowl celebrations, regardless of team, are big events in the hometown of the team. Within a week of a Super Bowl, the celebration is finished, and the work is underway to win the next championship. It is important organizations take the time to truly celebrate achievement as it happens while also remaining focused that another game is on the horizon.
I’m confident this won’t be the last blog or article using sports as a metaphor for organizational success. In writing this, my singular hope is you feel the daily thrill of the list above in your own business.
Go Pack Go!