Super Bowl and Business

Super Bowl XLIX must be one of the best competitive games in some time.  Defenses showed up and offenses played well against those defenses…for the most part.  The correlations to everyday business quickly came to mind and were obvious on some level.

  1. Learn from your mistakes.
    Both sides threw interceptions; both sides had defensive mismatches; both sides made bad play calls. The key to all of these is their ability to adjust the game plan to provide the best positive outcome. New England allowed Seattle to drive down the field and score a touchdown in the final 30 seconds of the first half. The pass went to their tallest receiver (Chris Matthews; who had not caught a pass all season) because Seattle read the mismatch and took advantage of it. In the second half, Matthews was not as dominant because New England changed the match up to provide better coverage.In our everyday business, we have to adjust to what the defense or offense throws at us. If we are unwilling or unable to adjust, we will continue to be dominated by mismatches. Those that are successful make these adjustments constantly. Like the old adage says, “Champions find a way to win.” We must find a way, even if it isn’t obvious.
  2. Building a great team comes from spotting talent and making it work for you.
    Both Seattle and New England have their fair share of top draft picks. And those picks for both teams worked well where they needed them. Let’s look at those that were late round drafts or free agents…Russell Wilson (3rd round), Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse (not drafted), Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell (not drafted), Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis (free agents) and of course who could forget Tom Brady (#199 in 2000 draft). Of course how can we forget Malcolm Butler…a rookie out of West Alabama. These teams succeeded based on their ability to spot businesses survive not solely on the backs of those with big titles or who came highly recommended. They survive based on our ability as leaders to spot talent and put it in the right place at the right time. If our leadership team doesn’t know how to spot talent, you don’t have the right talent. Creating an opportunity to win with your team starts with the coaching staff. And, those coaches better know how to look beneath the “media coverage” and see who can do what.
  3. Motivating a team comes in many forms.
    One thing you saw in common for both teams was their coach’s ability to motivate after each small win. The Seahawks touchdown at the end of the first half, the first touchdown pass of the game, the break through run, the long pass that bounced around and was caught while laying on the ground… Each time, the coach and players celebrated the small win. Why? Because each small win amounts to something bigger – the title. We have to celebrate wins, both small and large. How motivated do you think the defense or offense will be if the coach never congratulates the small victories? Spoiler alert: they wouldn’t be.
  4. You can’t lose by giving too much.
    Whether you’re in a leadership position or not, giving all you’ve got for the greater good always wins. There are times where it may not feel like it, but you’ve done the right thing and provided the best preparation for a positive outcome. Just look at the final interception. Butler prepared for that game by reading a play that Seattle didn’t run often enough to be picked up by every couch QB. He knew because he prepared and gave all he had to deliver the best possible outcome.

As we reflect on Super Bowl XLIX, don’t just remember the game, remember the lessons.  We can all win!


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