If winning doesn’t matter why do they keep score?

April 28, 2011 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

Managing an organization is a lot like managing a football team.   There are defined metrics and goals to achieve, conquer and win.    Like a championship football team, the effective organization blends leadership and talent in a way that sets them apart from the competition.

With a recipe for success, why is it that so many organizations succumb to mediocrity?   From the biggest to the smallest, public and private, there are those who achieve, those to attempt to and those who just seem to get by, satisfied with mediocrity.  

It comes down to people.   From the leadership down to the rank and file employees, building the winning organization takes talent, time and savvy.    A common denominator in many struggling organizations is bureaucracy and complacency.    Far too many have been given tasks in a culture where silos haven’t given way to cross functional cooperation, impeding a companies ability to truly become great.  

To truly understand effective leadership, consider Vince Lombardi, arguably the greatest coach in NFL history.   When he took over the Green Bay Packers in 1959, they were coming off of a 1-10-1 season.  When he departed nine years later, he left behind one of the greatest dynasties in football history.   Lombardi succeeded because he challenged the status quo and had no room for the half hearted.   He had a unique ability to hone in on a players talents, maximizing both their physical and mental abilities. 

The business world is no different, with successful organizations keying in on leaders who have the ability to facilitate change,  like Lombardi, who approach their challenges with a no lose, try hard, old fashioned system.    By identifying A players, motivating B players and removing C players, any leader has the ability to fundamentally transform any organization.  

While this may be easier said than done in an era where pride and hard work have seemingly taken a back seat to entitlements and coddling, it is being accomplished in organizations that stand heads and shoulders above the crowd.  

When Vince Lombardi took over the Packers, he established a military-time system, which later became to be named after Lombardi himself. This meant that “on time” was actually ten minutes early, which was what was demanded of all the players, and is something that true A employees will always adhere to. 

Tee shirts on the road were replaced with blazers and ties.   The team, as the effective workplace, was a cohesive group of “dignified professionals…only winners” and anyone who failed to live up to expectations was “free to get the hell out.”  By establishing a winning culture, the paradigm of this in his organization effectively altered the direction of the team.  

In prior blogs, we have discussed how nothing is ever achieved without passion, which was a critical part of the Lombardi trinity, united with repetition and confidence.    Like many great leaders, he had an affinity for God, family and success, using an uncanny ability to blend all three.    For Vince, there was no distinction between the practice of religion and the game of football, where many of his fundamental principles were learned from the religious ethic of the Jesuits. 

As you look for ways to improve your bottom line results, consider the truly inspirational  leaders that have blazed the path to greatness and paved the way to success.   With the right blend of leadership and talent, it is possible for any organization to exceed expectations which is guaranteed to give them a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses then why do they keep score?”  – Vince Lombardi


Christopher Tidball is an insurance consultant and the author of Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary.  He utilizes his experience with multiple Top 10 P&C carriers to assist claims organizations in maximizing productivity, optimizing workflows and improving profitability.   To learn more please visit www.christidball.com


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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 chris@christidball.com

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