You already know I’m a Packer fan, and of course this weekend they play the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game. The Bears and Packers rivalry is the longest in the NFL. It conjures up images and memories of Vince Lombardi and George Halas, figures that represent the trophies that are at stake this week and for the Super Bowl.
A recurring message in the stories preceding this and the previous two playoff games from Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is routine. From the very beginning of the season he keeps his message simple and keeps his practice routines consistent from the regular season to the playoffs so as not to break his team’s rhythm and their professional systematic approach. Despite being the sixth seed and playing away every week, this story describes the importance that McCarthy follows in preparing his team Packers comfortable on the road. McCarthy comments include, "It really helps our players. There's always a starting and an ending point in everything they do," said McCarthy. "It's no different when we go out and practice.” "We stay true to that and it works for us. Our players are in a routine. And I think it helps with the learning. And when you walk in a certain environment, you know how to act."
If following consistent patterns makes sense for a winning professional football team, how does that apply to your business? The value of your team meetings provides by having the same consistent pattern, the same time, and a structured agenda is in the habits it creates and the stability it provides. It’s the critical element in Strategic Discipline. It’s a reminder of which Jim Collins speaks to in Good to Great, “A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.” This is especially true if your business is growing or affected by turmoil and challenges. And what business isn’t confronting at least one of these now? With any change the opposing force that repels the dissonance and upheaval of challenges is stability. Meeting rhythms provide the measure of stability that brings confidence, comfort and structure to your business.
Providing your people with a reliable structure ensures there is comfort in the business. Comfort in this case is a good thing. It speaks to the environment they work in, the culture and framework they are surrounded by that engages and supports them to perform at their best. There needs to be pressure and performance as well. However we perform better in an environment where we are comfortable. To achieve high performance requires standards. The meeting agenda provides this in the form of accountability and focus on reaching your quarterly priorities and metrics.
If you’ve found yourself struggling to establish the routine of daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings. You’re not alone. Routine sets us free. It allows us to concentrate on those things that really matter. It provides stability to energize us for maximum performance.
Sports seem to be a persistent analogy to business and the concept of winning. In Strategic Learning Willie Peterson points out that this can be useful, however dangerous. We’ll explore this dangerous difference next blog.