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Managing the Clock of Your Business Growth

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 11/14/13 4:00 PM

What entrepreneurs can learn about time management from a Super Bowl loss.

Sometimes I ask my husband to review my blog posts. If it makes sense to him, then I've done my job. But this is one post I am hoping he doesn't actually read. When the Patriots lost to the Giants (the first time) in the Super Bowl, it was dead silent at my house for a few days. No one really dared to speak. The usual replays of the game were not allowed on TV and every so often you would hear someone suddenly exclaim, "Damn Patriots!"

Personally, I remember yelling at the TV "why are you hurrying up when you should be slowing down? Don't give them any extra time!" Turns out that I wasn't the only one who thought so. John T. Reed, who graduated from West Point and holds a Harvard MBA and is much smarter than I, said that the "reason the Patriots lost was that head coach Bill Belichick left too much time on the clock, allowing the Giants to score the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left."

Reed calculated in a real-time analysis that favored Patriots failed to play at a reduced tempo and take 163 seconds off the clock in 21 second-half plays. He believes that New England could have burned that 2 minutes and 43 seconds while it was constructing leads of 7-3 and 14-10. If the Patriots had done it correctly, in theory, the Giants wouldn't have had time to rally.

We have healed since then, but why reopen old wounds? There is a lesson here for entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their businesses to sell, take over the world, or just have the lifestyle they want.

As entrepreneurs it can be hard to remember to pace ourselves. Getting to the goal the fastest way possible is not always the best strategy. If you have an exit strategy and are working your way steadily to that end goal, it may actually require you to slow down to make sure you are going about it the right way. Assessing internally and making hard decisions for change is not easy, but for growth to happen it may have to be done.

What sales people can learn from the Patriots training camps.

As this season started for my favorite football team, I was nervous about the new team. Would they sync up as well as the old team did? Do the rookies have enough experience to know what to do? How would they handle a high pressure clock, like at the Super Bowl?

Situational training scenarios at practices helped them to put themselves into the improv situations with a high pressure clock. It's not just learning the plays and drills, but understanding how to use those plays in various situations with multiple people to execute.

I believe that role playing for sales works in a very similar way. When the pressure is on, how do you react? Do you get emotionally involved and lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish and get called on a penalty that costs you yardage? What if an unexpected objection surfaces, do you get flustered and fumble the ball?

Staying in the here and now is how sales people are able to make the connections that develop into trusted relationships. By working through the various scenarios, it gives sales people the ability to apply the tactics and techniques into possible scenarios.

What marketing people can learn from Tom Brady.

Real time and agile, Tom Brady is the leader on the field who is in charge of the consistent execution. He has to pull together the strengths and weaknesses of his team against that of the opposition. The Pats management of the clock at the end for the winning TD against the Saints this year is an example. No matter how many times the ball got dropped, Brady didn't give up and kept running the plays and throwing the ball until it clicked. He didn't let the immediate failure stop him from executing on the strategy, but you can bet he tweaked it as they went.

Marketing has to look to the longer term goal and watch the trends to see where a business needs to end up. Marketing must be  has to be aware of what the defense is doing, his focus on where is next target is and how he can reach them. It's his job to put the pieces together as they are playing out based on hours of video that he has watched and weeks of training and practicing with his team.

What are some of the clock management strategies that the NFL uses that you can use for your business growth? Are you using joint ventures to broaden your sales, marketing and service capabilities? How well does your marketing promise align to the sales follow up and the service delivery? Is your focus on what the competition is doing, or what your buyer is doing?

Topics: sales, marketing, business growth, entrepreneur