Play To Win
Two days ago, like 100 million plus people, you were likely watching the Super Bowl. New England, led by Tom Brady, was going for their 6th Super Bowl Championship. The Eagles, despite having been there before, had not yet won one.
The odds were clearly in the favor of New England. In addition, the Eagles were playing with Nick Foles at quarterback, the back up to Carson Wentz, who had gone down for the season in December 2017 with an injury.
I LOVED coach Doug Pederson’s attitude going into the game. He said, “we did not come to the Super Bowl to kick field goals. We came to score touchdowns.” I think Doug knew that if the Eagles took the conservative approach to the game, they would not win.
Doug got his opportunity right near the end of the first half. This was his opportunity to do what he said he would do. The Eagles were driving toward the end zone and took the ball all the way down to the 1-yard line late in the first half. There were now 38 seconds left in the half. The Eagles were leading at this point in the game 15-12. It’s now 4th down with 38 seconds left in the half on the 1-yard line.
Most coaches at this point would obviously have kicked the field goal, and gladly taken the 3 points to go into the half leading 18-12. Not Doug Pederson. He came to score touchdowns, not kick field goals, so that is exactly what he decided to do.
At this point, it was score a touchdown or walk away with 0 additional points. Most people were criticizing him for this, as conventional wisdom says “TAKE THE POINTS.”
So Doug decided that the Eagles would go for it. So the play he called was the most amazing part of the story. At this point, most teams would have handed the ball off to a running back and trusted their offensive line to plow into the end zone, only needing 1-yard for the touchdown. Not Pederson. He knew that playing to win also means doing things that the other team would not expect. So instead, Pederson called for a double reverse and pass out to a receiver. So as the snap came back, it was not the Quarterback, Nick Foles, who took the snap. It was a running back, who took the ball and proceeded to run around the left side. All of a sudden, he hands the ball to another running back, going the opposite direction, to the right. As he is running to the right with the ball, he stops and throws the ball to a wide open NICK FOLES. Yes, that’s correct, the Quarterback Nick Foles was WIDE OPEN because New England NEVER expected this, regardless of the fact that they had previously tried this play and it failed. Foles caught the ball for an easy 7 points.
The moral of the story is PLAY TO WIN. In order to win, you have to do things that others are not expecting. Think about how this applies to you on the job. Take for example, sales people. Did you know that the average annual income of a sales person is $42, 153? That may surprise you because as you read this, you may be a sales person or know someone who is that earns far more than this. The fact that this is true, tells you how many earn far less than this in order to create the average I cited. Wow. Why is this the case? I think there are many reasons, but assuming that the sales person in question is in the right profession, I think far too many of them don’t play to win. What does this mean for sales people? Here are some things for consideration:
- Do what other sales people can’t or won’t do: What activities do you have to do that will give you the best chance to win? It’s likely that it involved hard work. It will involve people telling you NO, which frightens most sales people. You also have to think about ways to get in front of people that are different. Most sales people will bang on the front door of a prospect. They are standing there among hundreds of other people, who are all banging on the same door, with no progress made at all. Instead, the sales people who play to win, figure out how they can get someone to take them in through a back door or side door.
- Fear of failure: Most sales people are paralyzed by fear of failing, meaning they won’t make the sale, so they never really try that hard. Sales people who play to win not only expect failure, they NEVER let this stop them from doing what they have to do in order to meet more people, create more value and solve more problems.
- Asking better questions: Most sales people when sitting in front of a prospective customer will just talk, and talk, and talk. The sales people who play to win, LISTEN. They will always ask better questions that make the prospective customer think, focusing on how to solve their problems and adding value.
As you think back to the Super Bowl, remember the lesson learned from the game. To be successful, you must come to PLAY TO WIN.