Saints 31, Vikings 28
It was an honorable, hard-fought game. I won’t gloat in victory.
Either team could have easily won.
I’m not going to say the best team won, but it is true that the team that got the points on the scoreboard first when it mattered did – and there’s a giant lesson right there, and three related bonus ones for good measure:
=== Uber-Lesson ===
Great team, great plan, great productivity etc. don’t mean a thing if you’re not putting points on the board – in a TIMELY way
Football – and business – is not about having the best stats.
It’s about having the best business and that’s calculated in sales made, profits earned and taking money off the table (wealth, also known by the boring old word “savings.”)
Three more related lessons:
1. Protect the quarterback
The Vikings did a pretty good job of that. The Saints did a GREAT job. It made all the difference in the world.
In business, this translates to “protect the boss.” In other words, if you work for somebody, WORK for them. If you’re the boss, expect respect and loyalty.
I see a whole lot of otherwise great leaders make this mistake. They put their staff’s well being first (good), they give their staff’s credit (good), but they’re too lenient and tolerate less-than-stellar performance from employees.
This is bad for all kinds of reasons, but here’s the key one: Yes, business and football are team efforts, but neither is going anywhere without a quarterback who is protected so he can do what he (or she) can uniquely do.
Three kinds of people
There are three kinds of people in the world: 1) people who know how to be respectful and loyal, 2) people who are learning, and 3) people who don’t know, don’t care and/or are genetically incapable of things like honesty, integrity, and loyalty.
My advice as soon as you get the first whiff that someone is in the third category, out they go, preferably head first. (This includes “little” things like showing up late and not honoring simple commitments.)
As for folks in the second category (they’re learning), make a clear decision as to whether you want to invest your time and effort in mentoring them to become fully functional human beings. It will be expensive, even it you’re successful.
My take on this is? Let someone else teach them.
There are plenty of people who automatically and reflexively “protect the quarterback.” Why on earth have anyone else on your team?
2. Doing everything right “most” of the time is not good enough
Once you “get” the fundamentals and make applying them a reflex, the next thing is to be on guard against mistakes. The Vikings did everything right, except for a few bone-headed beginners’ mistakes that cost them the game.
Top performers in the high-stakes business of commodity trading will tell you: making money trading is not just about racking up huge profits. It’s also about being relentlessly vigilant and not accidentally giving away the farm through careless blunders.
Sales-oriented entrepreneurs often fail to learn this lesson.
They’re so focused on their great plays, they never look up at the scoreboard and see that they’re actually losing because they’re not paying strict attention to all the boring – but absolutely essential – parts of business that keep things on track and in the black.
3. Don’t be good, be great
If you’re going to go through the effort of tackling somebody, why not take the small extra step of trying to force a fumble?
The Saints did this and enough of their attempts succeeded that it won them the game. Extra energy expended? Just a little thought and consistency.
It’s the same in business.
Too many folks just go through the motions and do everything “right,” but fail to apply that little bit of extra tactical effort that can turn a commonplace interaction into a game changing one.
It’s the fine points relentlessly applied that can make all the difference.
1. If you’ve got a good leader, respect and protect him. If you are a good leader, expect the same from your staff.
2. Do things right and pay at least equal attention to not doing things wrong
3. Why settle for being good when a little extra thought and execution can make you great?
P.S. As promised, to celebrate last night’s historic win, I’m giving Saints fans – and all other smart business owners – a one-time chance to join us at System 2010 at a super price.
For two days only, January 25 and 26, we’re rolling back tuition to the 2009 level.
in sixteen years, we have NEVER done anything like this before and since the Saints are never going to Super Bowl again for the first time, don’t count on it happening twice.
This truly once in a lifetime sale expires midnight January 26, 2010.
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.