Sunday Drive Home Rants

(Sigh). Aaaah, Football.

I have to admit I’ve never been a huge fan of any particular college or professional football team in the past, although I have always enjoyed watching rabid/crazy people paint their faces, scream at refs like they could hear them from a mile away, and the parties after the games.

Until I met my significant other. He’s a huge fan – not of the crazy variety, but more of the “knows every stat and has attended every game for 20 years” variety. Thus, I have been dragged in to fandom and have to admit that I now LOVE it and wouldn’t miss a Saturday/Sunday without watching or keeping up with my favorite teams.

After another heartbreaking loss of my favorite Dallas Cowboys on Sunday though, he and I were debriefing the game in the car and it struck me (in my anger, looking for consolation) that “if professional sports/athletes were held to the same standards as we are in business, they’d be out of a job”.

But is that really true? Consider the factors we were thinking about – and apply it to your own workplace:

  • Professional athletes have no accountability, except to their egos. They get paid the same amount of money whether they win or lose, regardless of performance on the field. Yes, they can get fired, but their contracts state that they will be paid even they are cut from the team. Hmmm….
  • No matter how great you play in the first part of the game, it’s won or lost in the 4th quarter. How many times have you experienced an absolutely fabulous, detailed, drawn-out-to-the-nth-degree strategy, process or plan, only to see it fail because people lose the stomach or the energy to see it all the way through to the end? Implementation is the key, and if you’re not consistent and lose that energy and focus, all your time, energy and money are a wasted investment. It’s heartbreaking when it happens to your football team (ahem, Cowboys) but somehow even worse when we pour our energies into efforts that fail only at the very end of the change journey.
  • Those on the outside sometimes know a thing or two. Sports prognosticators and rabid fans can cut things to the quick and have a unique perspective on what’s going wrong, and how to fix it. “But it’s not that simple” scream those on the inside…and if that applies to us, we have to recognize that we can so easily lose perspective and become “cursed with knowledge”. We know too much and focus on the wrong details, over-complicate things that should be simple and don’t think through the consequences enough in the heat of the battle. Even though it’s a little tough to swallow, sometimes gathering the right people around the table can get us laser-focused on the real problem and can help us come up with creative solutions to fix it.

I hope my Cowboys can pull it together to win and perform the rest of this season, and I hope I can take some of my ranting Sunday-drive-home-observations to heart on my own projects going forward.

Sheri Browning