I love this time of year. With NFL free agency in full swing and the draft just freshly over this weekend, it is the high point of the business of football. As in most businesses, the most important thing you do is put your team together.
There are a surprising number of similarities between how a football franchise and a business construct their teams:
- The right balance of skills- you can neither build a team full of wide receivers nor a business full of designers. There are too many other critical functions that have to be done to survive, let alone thrive.
- Cross training- cross functional skills in players have become an added value to both individual players and the teams they play on. This comes into play in a couple of ways:
- the ability to absorb the unexpected and the normal ebbs and flows of business
- the ability to utilize this advantage strategically
In the NFL, players often play a skill position as well as on special teams. At eyespeak, we train our account managers to use design programs and web CMS so that they can make basic content edits. This frees up our designers and developers from unscheduled, usually urgent, interruptions and keeps them focused on what they do best.
- Salary Cap- whether you have a stated number or not, you have one. We’re all limited by financial, practical & operational issues that decide the size and compensation of our team. How well you manage this is a huge predictor of success.
- Character- You’ve probably heard the character question surrounding certain NFL players and prospects. The idea is that their personality and/or off field conduct affect the team (ie The T.O. effect). I like to flip that question around and ask whether or not the personality and outside work life will add to the chemistry of our team. If you’re wondering about negative impact, you should already have your answer. The teams with the most wins over the past ten years: Patriots, Colts and Steelers all focus on team character & chemistry. During that time, those 3 teams account for 5 of 10 championships and only once in the last 10 years has one of those 3 teams not made the Super Bowl.
What do you focus on when you put your team together? How do you evaluate individual players? Is your team built in a way to win sustainably over time or just for today?