One of the things I love most about football is that it’s a game of wit. Basically, it comes down to each team trying to outsmart the other. That’s what shifting at the line is all about. As soon as the quarterback yells, “set” the offensive line cannot move. However, other players on offense can shift, meaning they’re allowed to release from their set position, move to another place on the field, and then get set again. Defensive players can shift all they want before the ball is snapped.
A smart quarterback is master at reading the opposing teams’ defense and calling changes at the LOS (line of scrimmage). Payton Manning is, in my opinion, the smartest quarterback of all time. There are many other powerful quarterbacks, but Manning is the smartest, followed by Tom Brady. They may not be my favorite QB’s, but I respect their ability to intelligently lead their teams.
How does this relate to you as a business person? Plenty. As you act as the quarterback of your company, you need to “read” current business trends as well as respond and make quick decisions based on those trends. You’ll need to be prepared to “shift” as you see changes in your competition and the economic climate. What is the best way to be a smart company quarterback?
1. Educate yourself. The best way to anticipate trends is to be a proactive trend hunter. Do some online research to discover the latest trends. Most successful businesses are born through spotting trends and meeting a need that those trends reveal. Trend spotters are the ones who make friends with the future and create innovative solutions to perceived needs.
2. Identify and Analyze the REAL competition. As a smart company QB you will in essence, “study game tape” to know your competition inside and out. By evaluating your competition, you’ll gain intellectual access to their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and thus you’ll be ready to fulfill the unmet needs of the client. You’ll also gain knowledge and power in the process on how to most effectively serve your clients.
3. Position yourself for success. When players shift, they have to come to a stop before the play begins. Use the knowledge gained from the previous two steps to stop and position yourself as the most desirable, most logical choice. It’s natural for clients to shop for the best deal and solution so encourage your clients to compare in the areas where you have a favorable edge. You can prosper and gain a significant advantage even with higher prices if you set yourself apart by providing something the competition does not. When you’ve identified what your competition is not providing, and make that your mission, clients will naturally be drawn to you.
When you’re in the set position at your company’s LOS and you “read” that the defense (competition) has shifted, you have options. Try the steps above; educate, identify, and position. Know and identify the trends and position yourself to capitalize on inevitable shifting. You will become a smart company quarterback who knows how to lead your team to victory.