Super Bowl XLVI is one not soon to be forgotten. With the Giants written off around week 14 with a .500 record, this team exemplifies what it takes to go from ordinary to extraordinary. Tom Coughlin once said, “If you are as good as you can possibly be, the rest will take care of itself. What we need to talk about is winning before we talk about anything else.” And win they did!
For full disclosure, I am neither a Patriots nor Giants fan. Like many viewers, I just wanted to see a great game, a fun halftime show and some humorous commercials. With that as a goal, this super bowl may rank up with the best of them.
That said, this Giants team defined the epitome of what blocking and tackling is all about. It is the basic execution of fundamental skills that brought the Giants back from the brink in the regular season and during the big game.
With all of the much deserved hype around Eli Manning and his stellar offensive performance, the old adage that defense wins games shouldn’t be forgotten. In 2011, the New England Patriots averaged 428 yards and 32.1 points per game. In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots gained just 349 yards and scored only 17 points as the result of fundamental execution of basic blocking and tackling by the Giants defense.
In our own organizations, we should look to the leadership of this team, both on and off the field to better understand their resurrection. It was this perseverance with a focus on winning that ultimately ruled the day in a society where marginality has become socially acceptable and everyone gets ribbons just for participating.
While the NFL season is over, our season is not. It is a perpetual game of process improvement in an increasingly difficult marketplace. Doing things “good” isn’t good enough for those who truly want to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
True success comes from looking across the business landscape. Who does things well, marginally well or not well at all. The Giants were a decent football team during the regular season. They could have settled for the status quo. But they didn’t. They recognized that to attain success they would have to improve upon what they were already doing marginally well.
This is true in any industry. Most companies stay in business by things marginally well, or “the way it has always been done”. The ones who succeed do so by being superior in quality and service. They look beyond their own four walls across the industry to better understand the competition.
In some organizations there is a propensity to focus on internal improvement by measuring against oneself. This would be like the 2011 Indianapolis Colts saying they want to double their results next year, which would mean going from 2 wins to 4 wins. As a successful organization, they won’t do that because their culture and leadership has defined them as winners. They recognize that to win the big prize, they must get back to winning at least 9 to 11 games per season. This is the mindset that will enable them to do just that. This is also the paradigm that businesses striving for success should seize upon.
Changing your paradigm from “what we do right” to “where we can improve” is the foundation for long term success. As discussed in the book Re-Adjusted, casting aside the mindset of “we’ve always done it this way” to “how can we do it better” becomes the springboard to take your organization from ordinary to extraordinary. Looking at the best of breed rather than just one’s internal results, forces companies to change for the better.
Great leaders continually do this which brings about not only change in their own organizations, but the transformation of entire industries. They force change internally and the ensuing ascent to success forces the competition to either change or falter. As coaching legend John Wooden once said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” The Giants recognized this at a crucial time and went on to be world champions.
Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at email@example.com