Happy 2016… Now, Stay On Course

Well, your first week of 2016 is over. Gone. History. What new thing did you accomplish? Is it enough?

DictatorIf you are like me, the little dictator voice in your head is constantly talking, constantly demanding “more.”

This year, I told the little dude to shut up.

Not in the sense that I don’t want to challenge myself, but more in the sense of silencing the urge to do something “more” or “new.” I don’t want to start anything new. I want to keep doing what I’ve committed myself and my teammates to do.

That means staying the course. That means finishing what we’ve started. That means choosing not to get distracted by the myriad of shiny “opportunities” that are all screaming for our attention. That means executing against the long-term strategy that was defined a couple of years ago. We are certainly evaluating and changing our tactics as needed, but the strategy is the same.

With these thoughts in my head, my friend, Mike Weinberg, just posted an interesting article on LinkedIn connecting the firing of NFL head coaches to turning a sales team around. That got me thinking further.

Unmet expectationsWhat was the common theme for every one of the NFL firings? It was unmet expectations, right? Each of these gentlemen failed to meet the expectations of their organizations. For some, like the coach of my favorite 49ers (Go, Niners!), it was a train wreck waiting to happen. For others, like Lovie Smith (now former coach of the Buccaneers), it was a case of “not enough.”

This really put me down the rabbit hole – what would have been enough? Was their strategy so wrong? Were their long-term goals not aligned with the ownership? I don’t believe this was the case. I think the real issue was one of execution. In other words, these coaches failed to meet expectations because they didn’t (or couldn’t) execute their strategy. Some situations were complicated by unrealistic expectations (please don’t get me going on Jed York right now). Others had very focused, laser-sharp expectations that were VERY realistic. In either situation (and everything in between), the key to staying has everything to do with executing the strategy.

Look at the teams that didn’t fire their leaders.

New Orleans decided to keep Sean Payton, Indianapolis decided to keep Chuck Pagano, and Dallas still has Jason Garrett. The common theme for each of those stories is continuity. It’s a lot harder to start over than people realize. These teams seem to recognize that. Will they change strategies? I’m not sure. But my gut tells me that they will only modify their strategies slightly to account for the current reality. The fact that they are keeping their leaders tells me that they likely believe the strategy is right – just execute it better.

And this is the lesson: staying the course, pushing through the obstacles and learning from your mistakes until success is achieved, is INFINITELY better than starting over every calendar year.

Cross the finish lineIn other words… finish what you’ve started.

I mua. Onward and upward.

By Tim Ohai

This entry was posted in Strategic Execution and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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