In case you didn’t know, I’m a HUGE football fan (GO PACKERS!). But the game has given me more than just entertainment; I’ve also come away with some important lessons. Lessons that prove useful to the professionals of the game, but also useful for the entrepreneur / startup as well as the established company seeking to stay innovative and keep growing.
1. Huddle up.
Communicate company strategies to all team members to help motivate and give them purpose. Develop a culture that aligns with your company’s values and mission and encourage the development of passion, it’s contagious. Make sure outside stakeholders get their information from you and not anyone else to prevent the spread of rumours and misinformation.
2. Go deep.
Take your “shots down the field”. Don’t be afraid to aim high — Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) will motivate you and your team to achieve great things. Even if you don’t get all the way there, the venture will be a lesson learned for the future.
3. The game is won in the trenches (the line of scrimmage).
The grind work pays off! Always be attentive to details and maintain high quality standards — your final product will be a step above the competition. Start and finish strong, don’t get slack and let complacency slip in.
4. Run hard on every play.
You never know when your chance to shine will come so give it your all no matter what the task is. When that client or investor starts looking at your company, you’ll be ready and in fine form.
5. Run trick plays.
Keep the competition guessing. Have a secret project in your back pocket or form an unexpected alliance, even run guerrilla marketing campaigns to keep everyone on their toes and generate buzz.
6. Go for it on 4th and 1.
Take calculated risks. The rewards from taking manageable risks far outweigh the penalties in the long run. Assess the situation and have confidence in your ability to lead your team to success.
7. Keep your eyes on the play clock.
Time-management is key, especially when resources are scarce. Prioritize tasks and use good project management techniques to get the job done on time, on budget, and according to specification. Know when your window of opportunity is ending and get ready to pounce when you get your turn.
8. Kick the field goal first, then go for the touchdown.
Don’t panic. You may be way off schedule but give yourself the opportunity to pull off a comeback. Take it one step at at time — a rushed task will often end up having to be redone and revised repeatedly.
9. Know when to go for 2.
Awesome, you got it done! Look for opportunities to squeeze in something extra for added value. If no one is going to appreciate the extra point; don’t waste your time, move on.
10. Don’t duck out of bounds.
Develop an appetite for challenges and take them head on with wise planning and execution.
11. The game is only over when the clock says 00:00
Don’t lose hope. Opportunities can come out of nowhere, stay optimistic and play hard till the bitter end. And if you’re on top, don’t lose focus — keep on doing what you’ve been doing and finish off strong and in control.
12. Shake hands and embrace after the game.
Never burn bridges, instead build relationships and respect for the other team. Learn to play well with others, things may be different the next time around.
Feel free to comment below with your tips for startups (they don’t have to be football related but that would be pretty cool!):