Every time I watch the Superbowl, it reminds me of the importance of preparation and how well those two teams will be prepared.
The coaches have had two weeks to analyse the competition, viewing hours and hours of film in search of flaws, possibilities, and the keys to success.
They will know their opponents inside out and will have an excellently defined game plan, where each player will know exactly what he has to do.
However, whilst I believe this preparation is massively important, and doubt that any team could win without it, will it be enough?
Given that American Football is a collision sport, this means that the well-known quote “no battle plans survive contact with the enemy” is very likely to apply.
This is where the teams will need flexibility in order to be able to adapt, improvise and overcome.
Flexibility can be prepared too, giving the teams different options for different situations, through contingency planning. The more things the teams have examined and prepared for the more flexibility they will have.
Contingency planning needs to be part of the preparation, planning for what to do when things go wrong. Looking at as many scenarios as possible, no matter how unlikely.
I remember a playoff game from a few years ago when Green Bay was playing Seattle at Green Bay, and within 2 minutes Green Bay were 14-0 down, this was clearly not part of their game plan.
After just two minutes the Green Bay game plan was in tatters and they would need to go with plan B, C or even plan Z.
If teams get overconfident, believing all the hype about themselves, then often this contingency planning may not be performed, and this is how shock upsets defeats happen.
The favourites were overconfident and didn’t give enough respect to their opponents.
This was highlighted once in soccer when several lower league teams were able to beat Premier League opposition in the FA Cup.
Whilst the premier league teams had game plans, they were clearly not prepared mentally as they were overconfident, and they were not prepared tactically as they had no plan B for the situations they found themselves in.
Everyone is affected by pressure, and when our plans don’t work this pressure can escalate very quickly, and this is not the time to be defining plans, this is the time for implementing plans we have already prepared for just such a scenario.
Having these contingency plans allows us to remain calm and focus on implementation.
If we don’t have these plans, then we can see a mix of pressure and panic, which is not a recipe for success.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure success and therefore it is our responsibility to ensure that the contingency planning is performed.
Ultimately, we may not need it, but it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Preparation is not just about coming up with one excellent Game Plan, it’s also about preparing multiple plans in order to give the team the flexibility to cope with any scenario they may face.
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