A Series of Small Wins

Man with shrugged shoulders

You may or may not have seen my email/post last week on the challenges of interruptions disrupting your ability to find rhythm in your work.


It was largely based on observations of various sports, one of which was American Football.


It turns out, there are more American Football fans around than I thought and once I’d waded through some of the less polite responses, I did come across this lovely note from a chap called Robin.


The only slightly disappointing thing was he emailed his response rather than sending a fax or letter.


You may find it helpful to read the OP first here…


Here’s his response.


Dear Editor,


I was concerned to read your slanderous discussion of American Football in your recent email communication, and I would like to take the opportunity to reset your understanding of the sport, and the “true” lessons that can be learnt from it.


  • Unlike most other sports, the nature of American Football is that of a single chess match on every single play – no other sport has that much happening within a 10 second span.
    • Each play has a specific strategy dictated by the coaches and implemented by the players as they look to “win” against an opposition that also depends on a strategy put in place by a coach and implemented by the players.
    • The coach IS NOT ON THE FIELD – much like successful business owners, they focus on the bigger picture and strategy, leaving the actual implementation to the players. If you’re “coaching from the field”, chances are your business will be struggling… so spend more time “on” the business and less “in” the business – that’s what the players are for.

  • Everyone on the field of play has a specific role to play one very play (unlike the lesser “soccer” where the goalkeeper can file his nails for most of a game!)… if one player doesn’t perform their role, it can mess things up for the rest of the team.
    • Understanding the roles in your business and ensuring that everyone is being handled.
    • The e-myth talks about a business structure and ensuring every role is filled… even if people have multiple roles.
    • If your business doesn’t have someone in charge of sales, or marketing – it’ll be a long day at the office.

  • The NFL is a money-making machine for the 32 owners of the teams… but one thing businesses everywhere can learn from is their presence – considering they only play games from September to February, they are masters at maintaining focus on their sport, even when games aren’t played.
    • Their “omnipresence” through the off season ensures they’re always front of mind and don’t allow other sports to muscle in.
    • Much like successful businesses are consistent and relentless with their communication – and use multiple channels (not every channel, but the right ones for their market) to consistently remind their prospects and customers of their presence.


I hope you take this opportunity to refresh your view of the sport of American Football and realise that it’s not one game, broken up into 60 or 70 plays and driven by TV advertising – but rather 60 to 70 mini-games, each an event in their own right… and the accumulation of winning as many games as possible leads to a result for the team.


…again, a bit like business… it’s not about one thing, it’s about a series of small wins, which cumulate in overall victory.


Kind Regards


Disgruntled American Football Fan


For the record, Robin hasn’t moved my opinion, but he does raise some rather excellent points which I thought were worth sharing.


As always, let me know your thoughts though it’s likely this could into an 80’s esq chain mail letter if I’m not careful!





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