Published September 01, 2009 by Gregg Schieve
Hurray! The football season is finally upon us! I can smell the brats sizzling on the grill now! Let the hitting begin! I love football and team sports in general.
I like to analyze why some teams are far superior than their competition. To me if a team plays at a high level year after year it usually means that in addition to great players, they have a great management team. There's more to it than just, "we score more points than the other guys, that's why we're better." However, I usually cringe when the owner of a non-sports related business uses sports analogies to rally the troupes. Saying things like, "We're in the fourth quarter and it's fourth and goal. We need to punch this one in to go to the playoffs!" Talk like this usually sounds phony coming from a guy in a suit who has never played a down. You just know there's an employee in the back of the room rolling their eyes. Or how about the employees who don't understand sports cliques and have no idea of what the boss is trying to communicate.
Nonetheless, I read a quote last month from University of Wisconsin's head football coach Bret Bielema that I could apply to our "team" here at Tweedee Productions. Coach Bielema was talking about what he wants his team to focus on this upcoming season. "We talked about details, how every day matters and about trying to take care of their business in that today is going to affect tomorrow but, more importantly, it's going to affect our first game just as much as our last game," Bielema said. "And about being highly accountable not only to yourself but to each other." - WSJ August 12, 2009 As I read the quote, I thought of how easily all of these principles could be applied to our business. In our industry, we have to sweat the details or we won't be around for long. What we do every day does make a difference to how successful the business will be. I've told my team many times that it matters more what you do for the company when you're not busy with direct client work than when you are. In other words when business is slow it's easy to get complacent, but it's also the most important time to work on the business. Then when business picks up, you're better prepared for the next client related project.
Like coach Bielema says, what we do today will affect tomorrow. We may not win our first game, but we will be in a better position to win our last, and ultimately have a more consistent "season". The last line was the clincher - "being highly accountable" to ourselves and to each other. Just as in a business-client relationship, the members of a company have to trust and be accountable to themselves and to each other. A business will become extremely dysfunctional if there is mistrust of management, contempt of the employees, and if the partners or owners aren't loyal to or trust each other. So take some time to ponder these thoughts the next time you're throwing the ol' pigskin around. Stick to your game plan, play within yourself and win one for the Gipper! Oops. I guess those are all sports analogies. Feel free to cringe.
Win this game!>