Super Bowl XLVIII - Leadership Lessons from a Blowout

Although Super Bowl XLVIII wasn't much of a game, Seattle's big win over the Broncos provided enough leadership lessons to give you an MBA. Following are my top five observations from the game and a few questions to stimulate your thinking about personal application...

Every Team Needs a Leader – There is no debate, Peyton Manning is the leader of the Denver Broncos. But, what became increasingly clear Sunday night in Seattle’s victory was the leadership of Pete Carroll. For those who’ve followed his career, his success is not a surprise. He’s now only the third coach in history to win an NCAA Championship and the Super Bowl. Like all great teams, the Seahawks embody the drive and commitment of their leader. They also reflect the leader’s effort. How hard is your team working? Do you set the pace?
Football (and whatever you’re doing) is a Team Sport – The Seahawks outplayed the Broncos in all aspects of the game – offense, defense and special teams. They came into the game with the #1 rated defense, but they played a complete game. What are the different facets on your game? How strong is your team? Are you pulling in the same direction or is it really, “Every man for himself?”
Talent Comes in All Sizes – Russell Wilson is not your prototypical NFL quarterback. He may be 5’11’’ – probably less. He was drafted in the 3rd round, not the first. However, he gets the job done. If the Seahawks had only been looking for the typical quarterback, they wouldn’t have chosen Russell – and they might not have won the Super Bowl. Regardless of what you’re leading, you need talent. Don’t get trapped by your stereotypes when looking for talent. Are you looking for talent in unexpected places?
Preparation Matters – The Seahawks and the Broncos practiced for six months in preparation for last night’s game; many of the players train year-round. Wilson said in his post-game interview, his team had a “championship off-season.” You could even argue, some of the players had been preparing for decades. All this preparation… for about 11 minutes of actual playing time. (That’s the average amount of time the ball is in play in a typical NFL game.) How much time do you invest in preparation? For your next meeting? For your next presentation? For your next interview?
Execution Matters Even More Than Preparation – In the NFL, blocking and tackling still wins games. The Seahawks made more blocks and tackles than the Broncos. You can design great plays in the locker room or the boardroom – the question is, can you run the play? From the first play from scrimmage, when the snap went over Peyton’s head, it was apparent, the Broncos did not have their “A” game. They had trouble all night executing the plays they called. How much time do you give to the fundamentals in your role? How much time do you invest to ensure execution? The plays that win the game are the ones you execute successfully.
The Super Bowl is over but your Super Bowl probably comes around a lot more often than once a year. If we can learn from the experience of the Seahawks, we’ll have a much better chance of winning our big games everyday.[GLS_Shield]

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