Six Seconds to Win
You can’t give 100% effort 100% of the time.
College football games are won by giving maximum focus and effort six seconds at a time.
I watched James Franklin, head coach of Penn State football, say the average play in football takes 6 seconds. You give your best for six seconds. (Written from memory. Not an exact quote.)
Slow and steady is a losing strategy. Everyone knows the tortoise wouldn’t really win.
You can’t give 100% all day long. Realistically, you might be able to sustain 70% or 80% effort for an entire day.
Success includes short sprints in a long race.
Management lessons from football:
#1. Coaches don’t play.
Successful managers watch how work is done. Success isn’t simply getting things done.
- Whose performance is ticking up? Why?
- Whose performance is slipping? Why?
- When are players at their best?
- Review the performance of team members.
- What was happening during peak performance?
- How might you duplicate peak-performance-environments?
It’s common for business managers to coach and play in the game. Don’t get lost in work. Schedule time to work on the way work gets done.
#2. Coaches make and work a plan.
Coach Franklin said last year Penn State started slow. They spent the offseason focusing on being a fast starting team. They turned a weakness into a strength.
Penn State has outscored opponents 104-0 in first quarter play this year.
Successful managers don’t simply react. What’s your articulated plan for success?
#3. Coaches constantly adapt.
In a changing world you adapt or die.
- Halftime is a pre-scheduled time to adapt.Schedule adapt-meetings designed to challenge or disrupt common practices and refocus on long-term goals.
- Call timeout. Don’t ignore poor performance. Declare it.
- Bring up disappointment.
- Don’t berate or belittle.
- Refocus on the big picture.
- Express confidence.
- Shift responsibilities.
- Provide training.
- Put new players in the game. Find the winning combination.
What management lessons do you see in football? Other sports?
How might managers employ a sprinting mindset, even while staying focused on the marathon.