(Read Time: 2 minutes)

Welcome to an era of uncertainty. More than ever, your success may come down to how quickly you/your organization adapt to changing social, political or economic indicators.

Perhaps, we can take advantage of lessons from the sports world, a place where the outcome is always clear- you either win or you lose.

Here are the players:

  • Billy Beane – Leveraged analytics to change Major League Baseball’s economics.
  • Bill Belichick – New England Patriot’s head coach; loved/hated and one of the most successful NFL coaches in history  (I am a Steelers fan, so…).
  • Mike Tyson – 49 career wins (43 by Knockout), 4 losses.  A terribly flawed individual and scary heavyweight boxer.

Each faced daunting competition and managed to win.
Each has remarkably simple guiding principles that we can apply to our work.

Prepare Differently

Billy Beane figured out how to compete with limited resources. He ran a low budget ball club that competed directly against high-budget, well-resourced teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. To compete, he had to find new avenues of input. Looking outside the game, he hired Peter Brand,an economist, introduced advanced analytics to the Oakland A’s, made his team competitive and changed the business of baseball forever.


“People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players.  Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins.  And to buy wins you must buy runs.” 

Peter Brand- new Yale graduate with degree in Economics


Takeaway: Look outside your sector for new perspectives.

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center is an excellent resource for those who want to build or improve a team, create personal accountability and promote a culture of ‘Servant Leadership’. Ritz Carlton Leadership Center Blog



“Mental Toughness is doing the right thing for the team when it’s not the best thing for you. Do Your Job.”

Bill Belichick

Takeaway: Before shifting implementation work to your team, ask yourself how you perform in the following 3 categories:

1) Provide

  • Have I provided enough information about why the goal is important?
  • Have I asked for feedback from the team?
  • Have I been clear in setting the expectations of performance?
  • Am I playing a support or implementation role?

2) Protect

  • Am I buffering my team from distractions?
  • Have I allowed my team to organize themselves to achieve the goal?
  • Am I continually asking – What’s working?  What’s not working? What can we do differently? What do we need to learn/do to improve the outcome?

3) Procure

  • Have I given the team the tools and resources needed to do their job?




“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Mike Tyson

Sorry, but it’s going to happen. At some point everybody gets a metaphorical ‘punch in the face’. So, figure out what that might look like and plan for what happens if things ‘go south’.

Takeaway: Create an honest risk assessment analysis.

  • Devote time to the “What if’s”? What if I can’t get the resources I requested? What if I lose a member of my team?
  •  What if the competition changes their tactics?
  •  What if I have to cut overhead?
  •  What is the tax code changes?
  •  What if employee health care costs go up?

Successful organizations initiate uncomfortable conversations.


Billy, Bill, Mike

The lessons…
Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Keep it accountable.


And Finally…


Please Use and Share

Was this helpful? I’d love to know.

Until next month…