Blocking & Tackling

Dan_Weedin_022It was a satisfying Saturday in watching my alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies defeat our cross-state rivals the Washington State Cougars and retain the Apple Cup for the 6th consecutive year. With apologies to my WSU pals (well, not really), I feel obligated to create a point from the victory…so here it is.

After the game WSU coach Mike Leach summed up why he felt Washington prevailed. He succinctly stated that the Huskies, “blocked better than us, and tackled better than us.” He was right, and he also offers a reminder to our business and lives.

Blocking and tackling are the fundamentals of offensive and defensive football, respectively. The lack of execution in one of these might cause a team to lose; in both it’s nearly always fatal. The same is true in business. Regardless of your position or industry, you have fundamentals that mirror blocking and tackling in football. These skills extend from decision-making at the executive level; to influencing skills at the managerial level; to process skills at the implementation level. Complacency often sets in with the best of us; we block and tackle every day and often forget how important staying sharp and focused on these critical skills are. What are the “blocking and tackling” fundamentals in your business and career? How well are you and your employees performing daily? If you’re not “winning” as much as you’d like, check your fundamentals.

Final thought. Blocking and tackling carries into our personal lives as well. If you want to improve your relationships then hone your communicators by listening and civility. If you want to improve your health, then blocking and tackling morphs into eating habits and exercise. If you want to reduce drama and conflict, focus on positive thinking, empathy, and talking.

Blocking and tackling wins football games. They also help you win in business and life.

On three. Ready…break!

Quote of the Day:

“The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.”

~ Lewis Grizzard (20th century American writer)

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Crisis at the Top

On Monday we learned that my Alma Mater’s head football coach was taking a new gig. Steve Sarkisian announced his move from the University of Washington to USC just days after a huge win over arch rival Washington State in the Apple Cup. Although the possibility of this move had been swirling around the periphery for the last few months, it seemed that he wasn’t the first choice. Turns out after a couple of folks ahead of him declined, he jumped to go back home. Now the Huskies have their eyes on other had coaches and so the dominoes fall.

Let’s face it, college football coaches are hired guns. So are CEO’s. As I write this post, their is news in my neck of the woods that Microsoft is putting the full-court press on Ford’s CEO, Alan Mullaly (former CEO of some little company called Boeing). Unlike their small business brethren, CEOs are generally not the founders of the business. They are brought in to accelerate growth; fix problems and raise the stock price. College football coaches are supposed to do the same thing. Because of that, movement is rampant in both businesses. This isn’t loyalty. It’s business.

But what is always left behind in these moves are the colleges and the kids; the businesses and the employees. Athletic departments and board of directors better have a plan in place if and when their hired gun leaps to new pastures. If not, they are in the cross hairs of a crisis. This goes all the way from communications to operations to reputation.

Part of identification of risk should involve the losing of the top boss. And, that should not only go for CEOs, but for the sudden loss of a business owner. How well is your business prepared for the loss of leadership due to a variety of reasons? What plans do you have in place to prevent and avoid this crisis?

If you don’t have one, now might be a good time to put one into place. You never know when your number is called…

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved