I just started coaching football teams number two and three of the year, so any hope you had of me not blogging about the gridiron is slim.
But this blog has as much to do with your balance sheet as it does your fantasy team.
Here are the short strokes. Sunday was my first game with team number three, the Scarborough Thunder Pee-Wee reps. It’s nice because I am not the Head Coach. I’m not the offensive coordinator. I’m just a helper coach. That’s high technical football jargon, FYI. More specifically, I am a helper on offense. Which is good because my oldest son plays on defense, and I am still learning how to best give him feedback while not bursting his motivational bubble.
Sunday we played a team called the Niagara Generals. They have it all. Size. Talent. Numbers. Coaches. Supporters. Equipment. But still, in 2011 the Scarborough side came out victorious.
Not this day. We got clocked. It was ugly from the first play to the last. Our defenders were outrun. Our runners were out-defended. Our coaches were out-coached.
As a football man it was a thing of beauty. Why? Because their strategy was so simple. They executed it with a rabid thoroughness and ruthless commitment. There was seemingly no deviation from the plan. Remarkable. Unbelievable when you consider the kids on the field are eleven and twelve years old.
Notice I didn’t say it was complicated. Heck, I think they had two formations and maybe four plays they ran. But it’s what they did. They blocked.
Blocking. If you don’t understand football, blocking is the act of an offensive player legally interfering with a defensive player to prevent the latter from making the tackle. You can’t do it in hockey. You’re not supposed to in basketball. In soccer it results in a player writhing on the ground. But in football — oh so beautiful football — it’s critical to scoring points.
Blocking. It is the single most important thing an offense can do. Without it nothing else matters. Not the plays you call, or the schemes you designed, or the deception you create.
It is also the single most selfless act a player can make. You don’t have the ball when you block. You usually don’t get rewarded for blocking. Often the cameras follow the ball while the blocker soldiers on in oblivion.
But the pros know its value. Offensive linemen in the NFL make more than running backs. There is a reason why. Most coaches preach building their teams from the line out. You can judge the success of a team by how it blocks.
The peewees from Niagara have perfected the art and commitment to blocking. They also are teaching us all a lesson in business. Multiple lessons to be sure.
First, find the one key to success and stick to it. We all make everything too complex. Simple is smarter. How many times can you change strategies, innovate, or reorganize? A simple, consistent plan will produce the results needed to provide the resources for a bit of dabbling and experimentation.
Second, find people willing to sacrifice the spotlight for the pursuit of a goal. There’s only one ball on a football field. That requires eleven other people to block. In your organization, are 92% of your employees willing to get bruised and beaten to help your company win?
Third, hard work always wins out. I could tell by the way Niagara warmed up, ripped their plays, and got psyched up that this was one disciplined team. Their kids knew that to stay in the lineup they needed to follow the program so to speak. I could only imagine their practices. Their commitment. Their focus.
Maybe some people are skeptical that sports can be a good analogy for life. I am not one of those. I believe it is.
If you doubt me, think about your enterprise. What would you classify as your one simple and pure strategy? In football, to score points, you must block. In your business, to secure more customers/funding/exposure, you must do what?
The companion to blocking in football is tackling. I am pretty sure that your business has more than one key strategy. But instead of me writing an entire blog about tackling, or one about turning the ball over, I hope you will take my word for it. If you want your organization to be a powerhouse, get your associates committed to blocking…..