The NFL has so much to teach us.
In honor of the NFL Playoffs, I decided to rack my brain for a few lessons the NFL can teach us about business. The NFL is a huge and successful beast of a business, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Those are the kind of businesses we could all learn a thing, or seven, from.
1. Look for the intangibles.
When hiring new talent, look for the things you can’t coach up such as positive attitude, intelligence, and grit. Those are things you can’t teach a new hire. You can teach your ways/skills and procedures. Even wisdom will be learned over time, but those intangibles, they’re either there, or they’re not.
2. Coach up from within.
When you need a first string role filled, bring in one of your second string employees to fill the gap. Don’t go searching outside. Trust in your original draft strategy and work with the talent you’ve acquired, trained, and invested in.
3. Eye on the Lombardi.
The Super Bowl is always the goal of every NFL team. It’s what they build for, year after year. You need to have your eye on your company’s ultimate vision, your version of the Super Bowl. Anything short of greatness every year is a bust. Though you can (and should) learn a lot from your mistakes and down years.
4. Practice, then execute.
Train everyone, let them run through it a few times, then execute your plan. Have teammates push each other and collaborate together. Share results with everyone from your “practices.” Be prepared when the game does not go the way you choreographed it.
5. White board the game plan.
Put your team members in the best position to win. Find and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Create a common “enemy” to intensify their passion. Let your team add their “plays” and incorporate them into your attack. It’s on a white board so you can erase what doesn’t work and figure out a different play, just so you know.
6. Go deep.
Be willing to take risks. A boring game plan is easily stopped. The deep ball is a risk teams have prepared for, they’ve practiced. The deep ball is a designed play, not just winging it. Though sometimes you need to pull out that play when you don’t expect it.
7. Study game film.
Look at what your competition is doing. Understand what they’re doing right and what they could do better. Study competition that may not even be “in your league.” Your game plan is always the most important though, so don’t worry too much about what the other guys are doing.
Never forget, Tom Brady was the 199th overall pick of his draft and now he’s 43 and playing like a top 5 QB with 6 rings to his name. So get in the huddle, you got this!
Until next time, work hard and be weird.
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7 Ideas from the NFL That You Can Use to Improve Your Business was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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