People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society. ~ Vince Lombardi
With the NFL season starting this month, I thought it would be interesting to talk about what we can learn from the NFL in terms of teamwork and collaboration. Now at this point, many of you are conjuring up images of your high school coach (any sport) or maybe even one of the great ones from the big league, like Vince Lombardi or Tom Landry. Some of the most inspiring “team” lessons on the field have come from these and other coaches over the years.
Today, however, I want to focus on what we can learn from behind the scenes at the NFL. Whether you like the product or not, you have to be impressed each season at how the whole thing just comes together. Most fans just take it for granted, but as a student of “process” and “collaboration,” I see it as a carefully orchestrated symphony, where all the players and instruments must come together at exactly the right moment, or disaster ensues. Ok, maybe the symphony is not the best analogy for the NFL, but you get the point.
Let’s set aside scouting, the draft, money and all other factors and focus on just one game. Obviously each team is responsible for its own stadium and organization, but for simplicity, we’ll assume for this example that most are alike. There are thousands of people involved in getting everything ready for what amounts to a 3-hour event on a given Sunday. In no particular order, there are security, concessions, parking, ticket sales, suite services, grounds crews, AV staff, officials, players, press, broadcasters, radio and TV staff and more!
Many of us have had challenges managing a team of five, let alone 5,000. So how does it work, or perhaps more importantly, why does it work?
As you sit down to enjoy a game, think back to April when the NFL released its schedule and think of everything that had to happen prior to Sunday to make it all possible. You might have to pause your DVR to take it all in. Then on Monday, when you return to face your own projects, keep in mind the basic principals of why something like the NFL works on such a massive scale. It might give you a whole new perspective on Monday morning quarterbacking.
posted by Sean Crafts