It’s football season. Yes, I know the World Series is happening, but I’m a football guy.
It’s the middle of the NFL football schedule and the halfway mark for most college football teams.
For business leaders whose fiscal year ends December 31, it’s the fourth quarter. And the clock is ticking.
Some executives – whether or not they are devoted sports fans – will begin channeling their inner Vince Lombardi to exhort their colleagues to “buckle their chin straps,” “pull together as a team” and “push that big project over the goal line.”
Such sports analogies can be motivating. They also can fail miserably.
Recently, Inc. magazine asked me about guidelines for using sports analogies to propel your team to victory.
Aim for clarity. Winners and losers in business are not as easily defined as they are in sports. And this often results in false analogies that aren’t translatable from one field to another. If you’re going to use sports analogies, they have to be more than a slogan on a T-shirt. Clarity about goals, responsibilities and deadlines is more important than spewing platitudes. Achieving clarity is one of the many benefits of planning.
Want to lead like Lombardi?
Make sure everyone knows what success looks like and what they must do to help the team succeed.
About the author
Greg Bustin is the President of Bustin & Co., a consultancy he founded in 1994. He has dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He helps high-performing companies successfully build and sustain a culture of purpose, trust and fulfillment. He also specializes in helping teams drive accountability and improve performance through individual coaching, workshops and facilitating strategic planning sessions. Bustin is the author of four leadership books, a sought-after speaker and a Master Chair for three C-level advisory boards for Vistage International.