The Super Bowl Edition

At my Rotary meeting on Friday
At my Rotary meeting on Friday

I have to admit, this Super Bowl week has been exciting for me. I’m old enough to remember the Seahawks coming in as an expansion team in 1976. I was 11 years old and they became my favorite team for life. I was in New Jersey not far from where the Super Bowl will be played tomorrow. I was there on a business trip, so it was a little serendipity that I flew out when they were flying in.

I watch a lot of football “stuff” on a regular basis throughout the year. My wife Barb thinks I have a screw loose and way too much useless information floating around my head about sports in general (though I will note she is proudly wearing her Seahawks gear that she “borrowed” from me). I must admit staying focused has been a challenge this week. Since it’s only our second trip to the biggest game in 38 years, and our first in the last 8, this isn’t old hat. The fact that it’s being held in the grandest city in the world and the center of all entertainment, business, and culture; well that just adds to it. As I signed off from work last night, I knew this weekend was just going to ramp up. Barb and I have a party with friends tonight to celebrate the Chinese New Year and tomorrow off to her brother’s for the big game.

So what’s all this have to do with anything you may ask…

Look, we all have lives outside of our career. For many of us, we are our own bosses and can get pretty wrapped up in ourselves and our own issues. Even as an employee, it’s not uncommon to take a myopic view of your life and forget to have one.

As my professional mentor, Alan Weiss always says, “You don’t have a professional life and a personal life, you have a life.” One of the coolest things about sports is that it can band together people of all different types of lives into one common cause. For us here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s now our time to revel in the Seahawks. It’s okay to let yourself get distracted a little and enjoy something that doesn’t come around all too often. Here’s a quick example…

I was watching an interview with NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders on the NFL Network. He was talking about fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate Jerry Rice. Rice was a fierce and dedicated guy when it came to the game and his training. Sanders opined that Rice played as long as he did because he didn’t want it to end. He was so driven that he actually didn’t enjoy all the experience of his career while he was going through it and kept grasping at keeping it going. Sanders had taken a different approach and tried to soak it all in while being in the moment. Watching Sanders, that’s not hard to imagine.

Are you enjoying your life? Are you allowing yourself time away from your career and job to get distracted once in awhile? Do you ever pay a little extra to get a better seat, a nicer room, or eat at a fancier restaurant? We only come around this way once. Shouldn’t we give it all we’ve got?

The prediction: Yes, I may be a “homer,” but I really believe this. I believe defense still wins and the Baltimore Ravens proved that last year. Here is my prediction for the game on Sunday…

Seattle 24 – Denver 20

Russell Wilson will win the Most Valuable Player of the Game award and Kam Chancellor will have the game saving turnover in the closing minutes. I guess you can tell I haven’t thought much about this…

russell_wilson

Go Hawks!

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Crisis Case Study: When The Lights Go Out in the Stadium…

NO Super Bowl

In the biggest stage of the year, one of the worst possible things that could happen did. Someone leaned up against the light switch panel and turned off the lights to the Mercedes Superdome.

This was a crisis for many different groups. With millions of people tuned in from around the world; with advertisers spending millions of dollars on commercials; and with your reputation on the line for future events; how exactly do you deal with the situation?

Here is my report card for the major players involved…

The Superdome staff (A-) – To go from lights out to lights on in less than 35 minutes is actually pretty good. To do so with the pressure of the world watching is remarkable. Certainly, a power failure was a known peril for the facility management leadership. This is an area that they are trained on and have protocol. You’d think it would be a no-brainer, right? Not so fast. People are trained at CPR yet having to respond in the heat of the moment is another matter entirely. This staff had to deal with coaches yelling at them, television crews freaking out, 80, 000 patrons, and hundreds of social media bloggers making fun of them. I wasn’t there to watch it unfold nor know all the details of communications. Bottom line is that they went from crisis to game on in the amount of time a pizza could be delivered to your house for the 2nd half. That’s a win.

CBS Sports (C+) – Lead broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were part of the block of lights that went blooey ( a technical crisis term), so they were off the grid. Based on not hearing sideline reporter Solomon Wilcots, I’m guessing he was down, too. That left the other sideline reporter Steve Tasker with the task of pulling it together as they got the studio guys miked up and ready. Tasker was a little like the deer in the headlights at first, basically telling us things we already knew, like the lights were out. I’m guessing he hasn’t been overly prepped in being creative in the pinch, and he was adequate. The studio team was worse. They should have been better able to talk us through the delay as they are the ones being paid the big bucks. They were okay, but boring. My guess is they were busy eating some Cajun cuisine after watching Beyonce entertain at halftime That’s not good enough from them and Tasker being adequate kept them from falling to a lower grade. I have to believe that loss of power must be discussed as a crisis strategy by network big wigs. It didn’t appear that they were as well prepared as they could have been.

The Teams – Baltimore (D), San Francisco (A) – In the span of about 7 football minutes, the Ravens went from being up 28-6 to being up 28-23. It’s like when the lights flipped back on, so did the 49’ers. The Ravens ended up winning the game, but it took them a long time to find themselves again. One of the things an announcer did say was that these guys are professionals and it shouldn’t affect them. Wrong. I doubt that NFL players are prepared for this and let’s face it, most of these guys are pretty young. The momentum the Ravens did have dissipated quickly and the 49’ers players took a deep breath and charged on. Baltimore needed every bit of that lead to overcome what they lost mentally in that 34 minutes. Maybe they had ordered pizza and champagne for their celebration and forgot there was still a half of football to play!

What’s this mean for you? If you own or run a business, you need power and connectivity. And you need it almost always. If the Superdome can lose power during the Super Bowl, you can lose power at a most inopportune time, too. How is your team trained to handle it?

  • Will they rise to the occasion like the Superdome staff and get back to full operations immediately?
  • Will your partners who handle utility services and disaster recovery be able to help you where you can’t help yourself?
  • Will they be like deer in headlights or will they take charge? How do you know?
  • Will they respond like the Ravens and come out flat and bewildered or be like the 49’ers who found opportunity in the midst of chaos?

The only way to be sure is to have a plan, practice and test it, and continually monitor and strive to improve it. That’s how you build a championship team in any situation.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Bench Strength

Bench Strength.

I was at the Seahawks game yesterday as they played the Baltimore Ravens at Century Link Field. The hero of the game was certainly the team’s kicker, Steven Hauschka. Hauschka kicked 5 field goals that were the difference in the Seahawks victory. Hauschka is new this year; replacing Pro Bowler Olindo Mare. Hauschka has been nearly perfect by missing only 2 field goals all year (one of them from a nearly impossible 61 yards).

Mare was a tough act to follow, but in football (and all sports), when someone leaves, the next guy or gal has to step in and get the job done. In both sports and business, it’s called “bench strength.” In business, people come and go for a variety of reasons. People leave for vacation and call in sick. No matter what the reason, a business needs someone to step in and not miss a beat. How deep is your bench? Is your organization able to be resilient? How good is your human redundancy?

One last thought. Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Famer and led his Indianapolis Colts team to multiple 10-win seasons and 2 Super Bowls. He has been hurt all year and his team has yet to win a game this year. Steve Jobs has been viewed as the most irreplaceable CEO in the world, yet Tim Cook has picked up the reigns flawlessly.

Which example does your organization most resemble?

This week’s quote – “If I had 8 hours to cut down a tree; I would spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.
– Abraham Lincoln