As a business owner and leader you must be intentional. Aim to be more like a coach on the sidelines and not a fan in the stands.
Former NFL coach Mike Singletary once said, “I feel that a great coach is one that has a vision, sets a plan in place, has the right people in place to execute that plan and then accepts the responsibility if that plan is not carried out.”
When it comes to American football, a fan and a coach can do very similar things, but their involvement in the team and contributions towards success are drastically different.
A fan and coach both show up, are enthusiastic and know what is going on at the game. However, there is a big difference between the two.
Let’s define what a coach is and what a fan is, just so we’re clear.
Coach — “is a person involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople. A coach may also be a teacher.”
Fan or aficionado — “a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.”
To be an effective leader who wins at The Game, there must be the willingness to put forth effort towards refining your coaching skills and then the intentionality towards being available to coach your team on the sidelines rather than accidentally being amongst the fans in the stands with a headset on.
#1. Strategy and Direction – Know The Game, Know the Plays, Know Your Role(s)
In order to win, a coach must know the game they are playing, the role they play, and the role their players play.
During a game, it is not effective for a coach to be in the game with their players. There are rules against that for a reason. They need a coach, not another teammate.
However, during practice, it’s a different story — there are huge teaching opportunities there so they use them.
As the head coach of your team, if you are literally in the game with your players, you can’t see properly.
When you cannot see the whole picture, you cannot provide appropriate strategy for moving forward.
This is why it is critical to build a strong team with the right players, establish role clarity and provide your team with the proper resources to win.
#2 Practice Matters — Development
No professional sports team just wins or gets great overnight. To be really good at something takes time, intentionality, effort and proper development.
It is important to develop your team. Build a team of the right players, build a team of the right coaches and proper outside support.
Professional sports team provide their athletes with the proper resources to succeed:
A vision, a strategy to execute the vision, a team of people to help with their development and accountability.
Both the physical environment and the culture created either intentionally or unintentionally will directly affect the development, synergy and performance of the team(s).
#3. Be Involved — Intentionality
There needs to be involvement on the sidelines and intentionality towards game planning.
The reason behind why being intentionally involved on the sidelines is so important is because when you’re involved at this level your influence is more significant. Supporting your team by coaching at this level allows you to directly influence your team towards change and it will affect the outcome of the game.
Being on the sidelines with your team allows you to not only see the whole picture, but also the more intimate dynamics that fans never get to experience — the emotions your players are experiencing, what’s going on in their minds and potential obstacles they may be facing in that current moment in the game.
Time and effort towards game planning matters and includes preparing for: offensive and defensive plays, flexibility for audibles, post-game debriefs, and plans moving forward to beat the next team.
My encouragement to you is to be intentionally involved as the coach on the sidelines.
Know what is going on with your team from the sidelines and in the locker room— not from the stands with a headset on.
Obviously, this analogy applied to your organization will look different depending on what industry you are in and how your business is set up operationally.
What can be applied to all industries and organizations, is the principle of:
Being intentional to lead by example, know what is going on and provide your team with what they need.
What does it look like to apply this to your organization?
What needs to change?