In the most recent Super Bowl, in which the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28 to 24, fans were treated to one of the most dramatic moments in a football game: the goal-line stand.
With seconds left in the game, the Seahawks drove to the Patriots' one-yard line. The Seahawks were one short leap away from a championship. And yet, as just about everyone now knows, the Seahawks chose to try one more pass, and it was intercepted by the Patriots' Malcolm Butler. The stakes couldn't have been higher in this goal-line stand, but the Patriots held firm and came away with the victory.
It was a game, and a conclusion, that should inspire anyone in business. But it isn't just inspiration that concerns me here. I've been thinking about how to apply the idea of the goal-line stand to identify and pursue business objectives. I've broken the matter down into three considerations: goals, values and how these play out in your business.
What are your goals? It doesn't hurt to get into the habit of articulating your business mission as often as possible – every day in fact. It'll help you at crunch time, when you're forced to make a stand. When the business equivalent of a 300-pound linebacker is lined up in front of you on the goal line, threatening to run right over you, you need to be able to identify the one essential thing that you'll fight tooth and nail for, that'll stiffen your spine and your resolve, that will give you the strength and smarts to hold firm. What is that thing in your work life?
What values are you defending? First off, you might think of value rather than values, in the form of your profit margin. But if you ask any of those football players making their goal-line stand about the values they were defending, very few of them would mention their salaries or bonuses. They would more likely say that they were inspired by team spirit, by the fans of the team, by the history of the team or by the illustrious history of the game itself. Ironically, in business as in football, it is usually our values, our ideals, the things that inspire us, that lead to profits in the long run.
How will you defend your values in the business world? You know your goal, and you see how your values support that goal, so now you need to figure out specific tactics that help you achieve your goal in accordance with your values.
Those defending their goal in the most recent Super Bowl had many possible defensive alignments to deploy. In fact, the play that led to the dramatic interception at the goal line had been practiced more than once the week before. The Patriots were ready with many possible formations and contingencies. We need to do the same in our professional lives, each of us manning our own daily goal-line defense.
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