An Unexpected Super Bowl Business Lesson

So. Sundays are my “mother days” which meant I didn’t get to watch the Super Bowl excepting a couple of glimpses. I saw maybe three commercials. Nothing that really hit me (except I got to see Danica Patrick naked on a massage table which was okay).

But. As an avid SportsCenter watcher I was able to relive all the key moments as well as all the non key moments ad nauseam. Regardless. There was one segment and discussion that tingled my business antennae (I don’t really have antennae as you can see from my picture).

The Saints onside kick to open the second half.

So. Here’s the business lesson:

Prepare the team: Sean Payton told his team “we are going to do an onside kick”. He told them before the game. And stated in no uncertain terms they were going to do it regardless of the score or situation. So. When the time came he called the play (exactly like he told his team he would do). I wasn’t there but it seems he delivered on his leadership unhesitatingly. He put the idea in their heads early so when the moment came it wasn’t “huh” and no confusion. He simply pulled the trigger on a gun already cocked. The coach prepared the implementers for successful execution.

Prepare the referees: Awesome lesson.

First. He wanted the people who could make a difference to be aware (and he told them before the game…there is a lesson number two to that). Anyway. He wanted the refs prepared, aware and not surprised when it happened.

Second. Telling them before the game. Okay. I am sure he reminded the head judge as they came out from halftime but by telling them before the game it was one less thing for him to think about (it made it appear “business as usual” to any Colts “spies”). He eliminated a variable.

Surprised people may sometimes not be paying attention to the right thing. Surprised people may have been slightly out of position. The referees were prepared mentally and physically for the situation.

The coach had prepared the gatekeepers to success.

Prepare the opposition (for your own success): The coach told the refs the Saints would do it from a standard kickoff line up format. The coach had created an onside kick off play from a traditional kickoff line up. So. They lined up in the familiar kickoff lineup. The Saints didn’t “jump” the onside play and the Colts had no idea it was coming. The referees knew it was coming. The players were prepared to make it happen. Pretty much the perfect storm for success.

They executed an unexpected play from an expected structure. Gotta love it.

The coach created a situation to maximize the likelihood of success.

Nice lesson from the Saints. Stick with this in the business environment and you will complete more “plays” successfully. That’s for sure.

Written by Bruce