Beyond the joys of tailgating, catching up on your Fantasy Football team, or getting together for chilly games, football can also teach us a lot about business success. What we learn from one of America’s favorite sports demonstrates that serious training, making plays in overtime, and judging strategy are as easily applied to your career as it is on the 50-yard line.
So suit up, put your game face on, and check out these tips on how to apply football strategies to your career advancement.
1. Change Strategies Mid-Game
In 1940, the Chicago Bears were the underdogs in American football. They faced the superior Washington Redskins, and much to everyone’s shock and awe, beat them 73-0.
That game was one of the biggest upsets in football history. So how did a team with no shot of winning absolutely crush the more talented team? Did they cheat? Were they just lucky?
Neither. The Bears realized their current strategy wasn’t working, and they made adjustments. The team created the now-famous “T formation,” representing the first time a team created a new strategic formation in the middle of a game.
Like the Bears, if your strategy isn’t working in your favor, consider trying something new. Feel like you’ve earned a raise, but just putting in the hours and doing a job isn’t getting it for you? Re-strategize, collect supporting materials, and consider openly asking your boss for a raise.
If your management style isn’t inspiring your employees, change tactics and research different management techniques to get the results you want. If your resume and cover letter aren’t getting the responses you need, rewrite and reword it to highlight your abilities.
Today, coaches constantly look at which strategies work for their team and which are no longer effective. As an employee, you should do the same.
2. Never Stop Training
Every team from the little leagues to the NFL knows that consistent training is vital to the success of an organization. So, identify your key strengths and find ways to regularly improve them.
If your company offers training seminars or opportunities to cross-learn, take advantage of that offer. If you can take a night class to better your chances for a promotion or raise, invest in that education. If you have a weakness, work with coaches or teachers to increase your skill in those areas. In a team setting, you must also learn to trust co-workers and management to do their jobs in order to allow for the win.
By focusing on training and skills, you can create the best opportunity for team success and personal achievement both on and off the field.
3. Pick the Right Team, Play the Right Spot
In football, the right players have passion and drive. In business, passion and drive are just as important, but you need to find the right team for your skills.
What sets top performers apart from other team players? They’re excited, passionate, and invested in what they’re doing every day. You can’t fake passion, so if you have a career you love, you’ll help bring in the win for the organization. But, if you aren’t in a position that allows you to make the big run or go for the down, find out what you need to learn or accomplish in order to move up.
Your management team wants you in the right position too, but they won’t know where to put you if you don’t speak up.
4. Make the Big Play On the Fourth Down
Going for it on the fourth down is a gamble in football games. According to some analysts, being more aggressive on the fourth improves a team’s chance of winning, but coaches rarely make that call.
If you’re in a situation where you can make a big move, especially with a lot on the line, you might want to take the chance. Sure, you may be guaranteed a few points by playing it safe and taking the easy route, but working hard and having faith that a big move may win the game could pay off.
For instance, say you aren’t going to meet your sales quota this month. You have enough sales to slide by, so should you run the risk of making a big push on cold calls to gain a few more?
Absolutely. Of the 10 or so calls you make to companies, you might just score that touchdown and land your biggest client.
You’ll never know if you don’t go for it on fourth down.
What are some business lessons you’ve learned from football? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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