It’s fourth and long with just two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter. You have the ball on the fifty-yard line and you are behind by three points. What do you do?
Not an easy decision. But think about what got you here. Which players were instrumental in bringing you this close to victory? Which players will get you in the win column? And do they play offense or defense? Or do they play on special teams?
No matter how you break it down, all players and teams are critical to success in winning a football game.
In case you didn’t know it’s football season and the NFL kicks off tonight. So let’s do some tailgating and see how football strategy matches up against business strategy.
Alright, let’s mark the Xs and Os on our chalkboard and diagram how our business departments look from the perspective of Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.
First, we’ll start with Offense. Here you’ll find the Sales and Marketing departments.
It’s pretty easy to see why Sales and Marketing make up the Offense. They score the points. They generate buzz and they generate revenue. They put your business in position to be successful each quarter (i.e. just like each financial quarter) so it can secure a win (i.e. improve margin or market share).
But how do you get to those wins? What is your strategy? Do you rely on a good ground game (i.e. traditional print and media)?
Or do you prefer a high-flying aerial attack (i.e. social media collaborating with influencers looking to “go viral”)?
Or does your business take a more balanced approach doing a little of both?
But it’s not all Offense. Your business also has to be prepared to defend itself. Your Defense (i.e. Accounting, Human Resources, and of course, Risk Management) protects you and your business by containing costs, limiting liability and reducing risk.
Now, even though the Defense does not normally score points, these departments can definitely improve your bottom line by keeping the company out of the red, out of legal troubles, and any other hot water shareholders or board members like to avoid.
Both of these teams, Offense and Defense, are critical to the success of any team or, in this case, your business.
This team is a group of specialists like punters, place kickers, field goal kickers, and punt and kick returners, along with traditional blockers and tacklers.
In football, Specials Teams score points in a variety of ways…extra points, fields goals, and when each player is in just the right place at just the right time, they even score touchdowns.
In business, we see people score in a variety of ways also. Lower turnover, improved morale, and company loyalty among other things. And that’s because everyone is on the Special Teams.
Scoring points (i.e. generating revenue) doesn’t only come from the mechanics of driving sales, controlling costs, and reducing risk.
It also comes from the magic of cheerleading. The acts of motivation, appreciation, and recognition. The intangibles of culture, gratitude, and loyalty.
These concepts must be rooted in each department, division, and the entire organization. These behaviors must be exhibited by every employee, manager, and leader.
And everyone has the ability to score, whether it is a field goal, an extra point, or even a touchdown. No matter our position, when we play with heart to the best of our ability with the team in mind, we all contribute to the win!
Today, I don’t have any thoughtful questions this time. Just some thinking time to consider your role on Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. As a leader, think about how you coach, how you cheer, and how you reward your teams and employees. As a contributor, think about how you show up, how you perform, and how you lead yourself and others within your department and across the company.
Everyone plays a role on the team. How we work with others and how we show our appreciation is how we win games. Now let’s go out there and win some games!