Monday, February 6, 2012

Going for broke?

Last night's Super Bowl was a thrilling one:  tightly-played between evenly-matched teams.  It came down to the last second,  a desperation heave -- a "Hail Mary" -- hoping to turn defeat into victory.  Didn't happen...for the Patriots, anyway.

But as the coach said after the game, there were "100 plays" that he'd like to do over again.  He wasn't so much talking about the strategy or design of any of the plays, but the execution.  After six months of practice and playing, it came down to the last minute and a couple of plays that didn't work out quite as planned.  Any of them could have changed the outcome.

Stuff happens, as they say...all the time.  In football, in business and in life.

But while there are many parallels and analogies between football and life, as a business owner or leader, if you are in in the position the Patriots were in with just over a minute left in the game, it is a classic Catch-22 if ever there was one.

In business, if you need to go for broke, the likelihood is that you already are well on your way to getting there.  If you are between a rock and a hard place, it is a much different reality than a football game where everyone goes home a bit richer.  

That one big sale, the increased store traffic, the magical marketing campaign, the superstar salesperson you are hoping for will always remain elusive.  Hoping lightening strikes is not a winning strategy.

So, what do you do when your plan doesn't work, when you aren't getting the results you need?  How do you make adjustments?  Unlike football, in business, you can change the game you are playing:

Unlike in football, you can not only review your "failed plays," you can re-play them again tomorrow.

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