… life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
– Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino, in the movie, “Any Given Sunday”)
It’s football season. The Grey Cup is this weekend, and some of the key match-ups for the NFL are happening as well. There seems to be a popular tendency to relate sports and life, with the comment elements of struggle and organized teamwork to emerge victorious, or live to play another day. The analogies for competitive spirit are plentiful and our culture identifies with the idea that perseverance pays off. I love the quote above because It adds in the fact that timing is everything, and sometimes despite all the best intentions the favourite doesn’t win.
This philosophy helps explain the concept of the underdog. We all like to know that the most unlikely player can make the winning touchdown in the final seconds; it relieves our own insecurities. The part we tend to forget is that teamwork is still a required part of that equation. The quarterback needs to have enough faith in that player to throw him the ball so he can get that touchdown.
The other thing the quote represents is the importance of attention to detail. We all have to watch for those inches, and take advantage of them when we can. If we aren’t diligent, we could miss our chance.
The world doesn’t need more superstars. It needs more team players, more people who have the faith in others to rise to the occasion and be a part of a success. If you can play with the confidence in your colleagues as part of your playbook, then you raise your game to a new level. Trust everyone to do their best job, and coach each other to take the risks needed to overcome challenges, and you will be successful in many ways. This applies even if your team doesn’t keep score.
People in a work environment are the same; there are often unlikely players that don’t feel they can make a winning play, but if your training encourages everyone to work together they can be confident in their ability to be a part of something special. Even superstars learn by working with all their teammates, and not just the most likely partners for a winning play. It is stressful to know the window of opportunity can be small in a competitive environment, but perseverance and attention to detail do pay off.
All of this of course then means your customers win as well. Your ideal customer experience is much easier to achieve if you have everyone reading from the same play book and working together for a goal they all understand.
Here’s hoping your team wins this weekend 🙂