enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend a while ago as we were
talking about management styles. He encouraged me to write a
newsletter and also pointed me toward the timely topic of the first
issue. As the Steelers begin their pursuit of another
Super Bowl, we were naturally talking about the team and its
prospects for the season. The discussion led to the
parallels to business.
people think about managers as being the quarterbacks of the
team. I maintain that managers are the offensive
think about what an offensive lineman does for a living. His
job is to remove impediments so that the glory boys can score.
That is, they protect the quarterback from getting mauled by the
defensive linemen and block the middle linebacker so that the
running back can get into the secondary. His work is
unheralded but if he doesn't do his job, the team can't score.
The glory boys get the credit and the successful ones are everyone's
pick for their fantasy football drafts. But no one seems to
ever give the proper recognition to the offensive linemen who make
it all possible.
that with the business world where far too frequently, the managers
get all the credit when they are not the ones who score.
all, what is the definition of scoring in business? Isn't it
when your customers send you a check? So when does a customer
cut you a check? It is when the outside salesman gets a client
to sign a purchase order. It is when the carpenters build the
2x4 wall, the mud guys put up the dry wall, and the painters make it
look good. It is when the technical service person helps
the customer get rid of the virus. Customers send checks when
the line personnel deliver the goods that they want. If they
don't get the goods, they don't cut the check.
manager generally doesn't do the work. It is his job to
eliminate any of the impediments that hinder the folks who do.
So the key is to make your line personnel's jobs as easy as
in the interest of control, we tend to put constraints on them
rather than to make their jobs easier. Now, anyone who
knows me has heard my mantra - "What gets measured gets done."
However, these metrics are more about coordination and
effectiveness. You want everyone on the right page of the
playbook. You want clear understanding of the blocking
assignments. You want the wide receivers to know what route to
run. The running back needs to know where the hole is supposed
to be. And it certainly helps to know that you have 3 yards
for a first down instead of 15.
challenge is to get you to think about what you are doing that
hinders rather than helps your line personnel to deliver the goods
to your customers.
Let me know what you think. Drop me a line