Super Lessons

Best Practices, CEO Corner : Article


I know the rest of the country doesn’t want to hear it, but all I’ve watched on TV this week is Super Bowl highlights.  I’ve watched the replay of the game.  I’ve watched the NFL films featuring the mic’d up players.  And I’ve watched endless post-game analysis.

And I learned quite a bit.

Sure, some of it isn’t that related to what I do every day.   Very few associations or standards groups have to decide where to find the open receiver in a Cover 2 zone.

But some of it was right on target.

First—and probably most obviously—is the lesson that nothing is over until the final whistle.  And whether that’s the final moment of a meeting, the final step before a certification program is launched, or the final implementation of a marketing campaign, the lesson applies here.  For example, I’ve often seen organizations launch programs then move on.  “Surely everyone’s read our press release.”  Or taken their foot off the throttle of membership development because “we’re doing fine—we have all the right players in already.”   Well, both of those arguments are about as valuable as an 18-point first half lead.   (Sorry, Atlanta readers.)

Second, I was struck by the lessons I took away from the ads.   Days later, the ads I can remember are those that told a story—and even better, the ones that used a bit of humor.  These are both often cited—and often forgotten—tips in making a presentation.  Don’t just recite bullets, tell a story.  It’s telling that no one spent their $5 million of Super Bowl ad time showing bullet points with a clever PowerPoint background to tell their story.   You shouldn’t either.

Finally, I was struck by the power of strategic preparation.   The Patriots won the game with two 2-point conversions.  That’s pretty rare.   In fact, they’d run less than a handful all year.   But they were ready for that contingency.   Too many associations get caught flatfooted in analogous situations.   A member drops out, and there’s no plan.   A PR opportunity arises, and there’s no plan.    And too often the answer is “we’ll come up with it when we have to.”   The Patriots no doubt practiced those plays endlessly not knowing if they’d ever need them.  But they were ready in 40 seconds when they did.   What kind of play clock would your organization need to take advantage of an opportunity or react to a challenge?

Sunday was a great day to be from New England.  And while the outcome of the game may not be to everyone’s liking, we can all take something away from it.

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