Throughout the college football season, we can glean many valuable leadership behaviour lessons that are so applicable to the work we do at The Frisina Group and The Center for Influential Leadership.
Thinking of behaviour and its critical link to excellence and performance, we have case studies from The Ohio State University and the University of Maryland football programs. When thinking of college football, or any great successful organization, the thought that comes to mind is a playbook. The great and successful college football coaches do not step out on the field unprepared for their games. In fact they go through weeks and months of studying their opponents. They have graduate assistants pouring over old games, sometimes studying for hour’s single plays or formations. They compile this data into playbooks, which they then present to the skill position coaches, who in turn review game footage with players before games. All the top teams are prepared physically and mentally for the game, and without this level of preparation they wouldn’t win. Without your “winning mentality” you will not be as successful either.
What is the leader’s playbook for your organization? Not just rules and guidelines that every employee gets at onboarding through your HR departments. The reality is you need a standard operating procedures playbook that team members can review on a regular basis. When the stress comes, and when the demands of the work show up, ‘lower brain fear’ response can inhibit high level performance. The playbook allows you to step back, assess the problem, see the solution and start again. You create your playbook simply by starting to catalog your successes and your failures, doing an analysis, what went right, what went wrong, and what would have been improved upon. That way when these problems appear again, which they will, you can refer to your playbook, and chart a path to success. A playbook helps guide your people to attend to what is really important, inhibit distractors, and create a working memory of success. This behaviour links to the brain’s need for goal achievement and interpersonal relationships.
In sum, you need a systematic, programmatic, and science based approach to performance management. The playbook is essential to creating team unity, cohesion, and clarity to execution. If you have been struggling to get the results you desire from the highly talented and smart people you have hired, work on creating clarity of focus through a playbook and include in your playbook the skill of Positive Presence — a new and deliberate way of thinking and being that makes the connection between emotional energy and the behaviour necessary for success.