As a business owner, you want to win. You set goals to provide direction and alignment for what a “win” looks like for your team. Those goals give everyone something to aim towards.  That’s what being a good leader looks like, right?  But how can you achieve these business goals successfully?

It’s easy to forget to pause and consider your unique team before jumping into new goals. Simply focusing on increasing the bottom line by lowering costs, raising prices, or increasing sales can work to increase the profitability of the company, but without the right strategy and support, it can be difficult to reach those goals as a small business.

But what if your goals were based on the specific skills and talents of your team?

inspirational football business quote goal setting winning

Imagine you’re the head coach of an NFL team. The goal at the beginning of the season is always to win the Superbowl. And each team only has 17 chances to do it.

This means doing ordinary things better than anyone else – every time you step onto the field.

But it isn’t just about one player doing it better, the team as a collective whole must do it better.

Fortunately for most business owners, you have more than 17 chances to get it right. But what if you didn’t? What if you viewed the goals of your company the way a head coach does? How might your strategy for leading your company be different?

Practicing techniques commonly used in the NFL could be the key to accomplishing the goals you set for your business.

NFL football players running on the field with sunflare

Take Stock of Your Talent

The season starts by knowing who will be playing for the team each year. Coaches consider the strengths of each player. This is taking stock of the collective strengths of the team. It’s common for the mix of players to be different each year. Knowing who you already have on the team is important.

If you consider the members of your team, what are their strengths? How could these strengths give you an advantage over your competition?

chalk chalkboard football strategy sketch team play drawing

Fill In the Gaps

Next comes the work of being honest about what is missing from your team. These are places where your competition can take advantage. In the NFL, teams either draft college players to fill these spots, make trades with other teams, or sign free agents. It isn’t just about adding bodies to the roster. It takes careful consideration as to the best fit for the team.

And it can be more than just raw talent. The player needs to match the culture of the team.

Where are the holes in your team? What positions do you need to shore up to create your winning team?

Football and lanyardon clipboard with team sketch drawing of plays

Coach, Coach, Coach

This is probably the biggest difference between any sports team and a business. Once a team has invested money in retaining talent, they work hard to refine and improve the skills of each player. They have coaches to help each player become extraordinary at doing the ordinary. 

Most businesses have an initial onboarding program and annual reviews. But they fail to consider their staff as valuable players with skillsets to be honed. Leaders fail to take the time to work on making each member extraordinary or even consider how to make the collective team extraordinary.

People like to use their natural skillsets. They like learning. They like seeing their own improvement. But most companies leave it up to their employees to grow and learn.

It takes an investment to actively coach and develop each person on your team. Some positions might require more coaching than others. What might happen if you view your role as a coach as well as a leader? How might you work differently with your team?

football field stadium view crows nest perspective

Go Up in the Crow’s Nest

NFL teams have a group of coaches that sit high up in the stadium, a place referred to as the Crow’s Nest, during each game. It gives them a different perspective of the field. They watch their team and their opponents. They see opportunities and work with the coaches on the sidelines and players on the field to capitalize on them.

What might you discover if you viewed your team from the Crow’s Nest? Changing your perspective of how your business works will help you find new ways of attacking old problems. You will see little tweaks that improve the strength of each player and therefore, your team. It’s easy for leaders to become the quarterback on the field. But they might be better off letting someone else move the ball down the field and instead look for opportunities for the whole team from the Crow’s Nest.

As you begin the process of setting goals for your company this year, how might you find inspiration based on the success of NFL teams?

What does a winning team look like to you? Are you committed to coaching your team to get them there?