“Coach each year like it’s your last.”—Bobby Bowden
Just as an astute NFL or NCAA football coach always equips his teams with a plan, top sales leaders never send their players onto the field without the confidence and resources to win. In fact, the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
If thorough preparation is so fundamental to driving real success, then why don’t more leaders practice this basic principle? In our work with corporations, business leaders, and sales teams, we’ve identified the following constraints:
- Planning without a purpose
- Planning too far ahead
- Planning without conviction – in essence, planning to fail
What we’ve found is that no one can effectively plan or live “10 years out.” You can only plan and execute in the moment. Average leaders understand this truth. Great leaders practice it. Dreaming and “mind-mapping” may have its place, but ultimately one must wake up and focus on the task at hand.
Here are three questions that will help you create a winning game plan for your team:
1. What are our top priorities?
2. What are our core responsibilities?
3. Does our calendar reflect our top priorities?
In sports, it’s impossible for athletes to perfect their technique and execution while focused on the outcome (e.g., winning, losing, critics, etc.). The same principle applies in your life, career, and business.
By Rene' Vidal, A six-time NCAA championship coach, René Vidal is president of S-Curve Coaching Institute, a leadership development boutique for top performers, teams, and organizations. Vidal also serves as co-author of Play Smart to Win in Business: Leadership Lessons from Center Court to Corner Office (June, 2015).