The NFL football playoffs started this weekend, and fortunately my team won [Green Bay]. In reading an article before the game I was drawn to a set of beliefs legendary San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh had which he used to prepare for big games. Several of the rules apply to business. They reminded me that too many business people approach their operations with no set of guidelines, nor any discipline to prepare themselves or their team for success.
Here are a few examples from the list [With comments on how and why this applies to your business] which you might find helpful for your business:
- Simple, clean game plan is best. Players who know what to do will play faster and harder. Less is better. [Reminds me of the importance of developing your One Page Strategic Plan, and our One Thing Approach to Priorities.]
- Build your strengths around their weaknesses. Not a scheme game, but get your best players on their worst. [You should your perform a SWOT on your business annually, and when creating your Brand Promise you need to recognize your business strengths and where your competitors are weak.]
- Preach calmness to the staff. The outcome of this game will not be determined in the first drive, or first quarter. Your staff has to act calm and patient. Project the image of quiet confidence. You have to coach the staff on this. Like complaining to the officials, if the players see the coach doing it, then they think they can do it. [How you and your leaders respond to success and adversity is important. Being prepared, not complaining about the economy, helps your people sense that you are in control, and focuses them on what they can control and make a difference on achieving.]
- Who adjusts the best will win the game. Therefore, it is more important for the coaches to work harder than the players. We have to be well prepared. [I’m reminded of Michael Gerber’s quote, “Businesses that plan always do better than businesses that don’t. But business that change their plans are always more successful than businesses that plan but don’t change them.” Your planning must include meeting rhythms that provide for opportunities to change your plans when necessary.]
- Work on execution -- must win the game here. [Your game plan for the year is only as good as the execution plan you put in place. The Strategic Discipline of meetings, metrics, priorities and work process flow charts are essential to putting your game plan into action.]
- Explain how we will win the game; it is not a motivational speech on Wednesday, but rather a business approach. The players must sense you are relaxed. [You must communicate your plan to win in your business. Your One Page Strategic Plan, quarterly priorities and dashboards give your people the plan on how you will win the game!]
- Plan on how you will react when down early. How will the other coaches react? Our emotions will be displayed for the players. Talk to the staff about being in control, about how we are all business, and go to the next play. [Preparing your annual and quarterly plans helps your team to recognize that one setback does not predict the year’s outcome. With a team effort creating the plan you can rally everyone for support and keep your eye focused on the long term outcome you planned.]
- Getting a first down in the first quarter does not win the game. Do not react like its life and death in the first period. Prepare the team for the 15-round boxing match. [Likewise having annual and quarterly plan means one big victory or accomplishment doesn’t mean you can take a quarter off or let down. Focus must be maintained on reaching your priorities and your weekly meeting rhythms establish continual commitment to the long term quarterly and annual priorities.]
- Talk to the team about what we do well. How we will win the game. [Your One Page Strategic Plan and quarterly priorities provides your team with a clarity on the game plan and how you will beat your competition to achieve your goals.]
If interested you can find the complete list here. Preparation and planning are keys to success. You can learn a lot from champions. The best prepare, getting themselves and their team ready for any challenge or adversity. Are you prepared for 2011?