Strategic Lessons from the Super Bowl Champions

If you watched Super Bowl LIII hoping for an exciting show like I did, you probably walked away disappointed. 

Watching the two best teams in the league duke it out for the trophy, I was hoping for deep passes, rushing sequences for long yard gains, maybe even a punt return for a touchdown.  The low scoring game was a disappointment to me and many of the fans watching alongside me. 

But Dan Graziano with ESPN wrote: "Super Bowl 53 sent a message that defense isn't dead after all... McVeigh said when Sunday’s game was over... ‘There really is no other way to put it. I'm pretty numb right now, but definitely, I got out-coached.’”  

Most people might think the best way to win a game would be to try to score the most points.  Instead, the strategy that worked here was that of smothering the opponent with defense.  No easy yards.  Not a single easy pass reception.  It completely deflated the competition.  They were frustrated, bewildered, and stifled at every turn - shocked into losing by the power of a well defined strategy that the coaches and players executed masterfully.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, "The field cannot be well seen from within the field.” 

When you’re the one in the field, it’s difficult to simultaneously observe the action and plan your next move - especially when the pressure is on.  On a field of battle, it is the generals who, from a distance, can accurately perceive the course of things and properly plan the next steps.  They use terrain maps, aerial photographs, GPS coordinates, and cross referenced intelligence reports to create a strategy.  In NFL sports, it’s the coach on the sidelines and his offense/defensive coaching staff.  Perched up high in the stadium, they have a bird’s eye view from which they can make adjustments in real time to the action plan as the game evolves.

"The field cannot be well seen from within the field."

We often are approached by owners, directors, and executives who want the results of a well executed project but who have spent little time planning or strategizing beforehand. 

When we ask them about their organizational identity, the vision of the company, the voice of their customers, their selling process, brand identity or unique value proposition, they look at us with surprise.  

Most people in the owner/director/executive role get caught up in “the game”. 

They have blind spots in the field or they rush to execute tactics without a comprehensive plan.  This is where we become an asset to an organization’s leadership team - because we start with strategy first. We are your “coaching staff”.  We work together with you to lay out a strategic game plan for your organization and/or team - considering your team members, your competition, the marketplace, and your customers - helping you execute a project more effectively.  

Together, strategy (coaching) and tactics (playmaking) are a powerful combination.  

What's your strategy for 2019?

Jason Manarchuck