Are you ready for some football?
YES! Oh, pick me. I am! I am!
Football represents the most glorious seventeen Sundays of my year, every year. The start of football signifies so many things: fall, the holidays coming, school starting, work intensifying, and pumpkin EVERYTHING. It's back (according to Starbucks), the pumpkin spice latte that is!
Football also signifies the beginning of my loyal relationship with the Cincinnati Bengals. By loyal, I mean, sitting through season after season of pure heart-wrenching disappointment. And I LOVE it, every single second of every single game on every single Sunday.
This past Sunday was the first game for the Bengals and it was the least excited I've ever been for the beginning of the regular season. Ochocinco (wide receiver) was traded, Carson Palmer (quarterback) refused to show up despite his contract, and other key veterans were gone. This team was facing a "rebuilding season," a nice way of saying they aren't expected to win many, if any, games. So you can imagine my shock and awe as I watched the Bungles beat the Brownies 27-17! WHO DEY!
How could a team that prognosticators doomed to an 0-16 season, start out 1-0?
I started to think a little deeper about why the Bengals won the first game of their supposed rebuilding season. And I thought about how many companies, who are going through their own rebuilding seasons (hello Bank of America), could learn something from the Bengals.
So, I wondered: What does it take to succeed in a rebuilding season?
1. Talent. (Rookie Quarterback Andy Dalton) To rebuild anything (your X), you must first have the talent to do so (sort-of sounds like a famous quote)! Whether the talent is you or someone else, you must recognize the opportunity for improvement and act on it. X is not going to simply rebuild itself, it's going to take people, talented people. Your job is to identify who the talent is and build upon that.
2. Belief. (Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals? NO ONE!) The number one indicator for success lies with your internal belief system. Do you believe you are going to win the game? Do you believe you are going to get the job? Do you believe you are going to exceed your sales quota? Do you believe you are going to lead your team to victory? Do you truly, deep down, gut-checked, know with all your heart, believe you can rebuild or rebound? If you don't believe, why even waste your time? Not believing only leads to losses. Some may be small, some may be big, but over time not believing in yourself and your abilities will only create disappointing failure. Take the time to list out WHY you believe you can accomplish whatever your X is. Do it now! Please. Reflecting on the "why" will help solidify your belief.
3. Seasoned Coach. (Marvin Lewis - head coach for eight years) A coach is instrumental in the success of rebuilding anything. Having a mentor or leader that can effectively teach and coach, motivate and inspire, demonstrate and set the example for the team, sets the tone and amplifies each persons individual talent and belief. The coach is the nucleus of success. This is the person who creates the game plan and calls the plays. A coach's job is to showcase the talent, make decisions for the team, make mid-game adjustments, and do whatever it takes to win. Who is your coach?
4. Backup. (Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, replaced the hurt Dalton in the second half) This is probably the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. In football, you have several strings of backups, but in business, very rarely do you have a back up for each person. Think about it, or more specifically, think of someone in your office who does something instrumental to the companies success; do they have a back up? Do you have a back up plan for when someone gets hurt (sick, laid-off, quits, goes on maternity leave)? Back-up your people, your talent, your team, your coach, and your hard drive so you can keep the momentum going.
The Bengals didn't win their game because of dumb luck, though some would argue with me on that one, they won because they had genuine talent, they believed that they could, they had an experienced coach leading them, and a back-up plan in place.
There was another showcase of rebuilding this past Sunday, as it marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Our country showed its pure resilience for a national "rebuilding season." I challenge you to take the spirit you had this past Sunday, because I can't believe that anyone didn't have a heightened spirit and sense of pride that day, and apply that same spirit and pride to your work.
The season to rebuild is NOW. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, right now.
Are you the talent? The coach? Or the backup?
Identify the role you plan to play this rebuilding season and partner that with your belief, so that you can win.
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