Could You Coach an NFL Team?


Think about this… Would your employees draft you to be the coach of their NFL Fantasy Football Team?

coach an nfl teamFootball season is finally here, and at least for now, all of our favorite teams can still make it to the Super Bowl, statistically anyway. Monday mornings are filled with talk about the various players, teams and coaches and passionate loyalties and rivalries abound.

But here’s the thing: Winning teams have winning coaches. They seem to have that “something extra” that sets them apart from the other teams and coaches. Let’s take a quick look at the talent and attributes required of a good CEO—and a good NFL coach.

  1. Understand and assign tasks to a diverse talent pool. All professional football players are good—but some better than others. Plus, since they are human beings, they have personality differences and different temperaments. There can also be conflict between personalities. All of these have to be managed and choreographed. Put the right people in the right seats on the bus to achieve maximum results.
  2. Know the X’s and O’s of your business. Even for entrepreneurs who start the business from the ground up, there is always more to learn about your business and its processes. Employees respect bosses who understand them, and look for guidance from those who really understand their business well. Just as importantly, businesses change at the pace of technology. Understanding and staying on top of best practices is a key to outstanding performance.
  3. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. A thorough understanding of the abilities of your team and its talent will allow you to leverage those strengths. Even though a football team appears to have 22 players all dressed alike, we should not be misled by appearances. Each player, and group of players, has strengths. Some teams have better passing talent. Some quarterbacks can scramble and others can’t. In a business context, some organizations can be quality driven, engineering driven, or sales driven. Others are experts at customer service. What are your top 3 strengths?
  4. Know your opponent. If you were your competition, how would you beat your own company? What weaknesses can you exploit? You need to understand all of your competitors AND the competitive environment.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. I once listened to a speaker who pointed out that professional football players just don’t show up on Sunday to play. They practice daily. They work out and improve their skills, individually and as a team throughout the year. In a corporate context, this could translate to a continuous training and development of your team, as well as strategic thinking and planning about the business. Don’t just deal with the problems of the day—anticipate where the customer needs might be.
  6. Delegate to the experts. Smart CEOs and NFL coaches have a strong leadership team. Offensive and defensive coordinators and special team coaches are like the CFO, the Vice Presidents of Marketing and Sales, and your CIO.  Let them focus on their respective specialties to make the team as a whole stronger. Look to outside experts when appropriate—they are often worth it.  And tap into the knowledge and expertise of trade associations and peer advisory opportunities, like Vistage.

Business is a team sport. Success requires good leadership. Would your employees pick YOU to lead?

Category: Leadership

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About the Author: Michael Malone

Michael Malone has spent more than 41 years in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve. He has been a CEO and senior executive in several technology companies, and has been a Vistage Chair since 2005. You can learn more about becoming …

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