The confetti is being swept up in Arizona and New Englander’s are waiting for the return of their Super Bowl champions in order to shower them with thanks for bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy back to Foxboro. While the press conferences with the champs are still underway, I thought it might be a good time to point out the lessons small businesses can learn from the New England Patriots, even if they were rooting for the Seahawks.
- Never give up. During the final moments of the game, many Seahawks fans were already celebrating, thinking that another touchdown and the championship was only a Beastmode rush away from the trophy. It certainly looked that way as a spectator. But on the sidelines the Patriots offense was standing up, preparing for another go if the clock allowed it. And on the field, the New England defense geared up to do whatever they could to leash the ‘Beast’. No matter what it looked like, they weren’t about to give up. If they didn’t have that attitude, Malcolm Butler might not have been ready to intercept that pass when the play was called. Even when things look a bit bleak for your business, be prepared to ‘catch the pass’ and never give up.
- Don’t let your critics deflate you. During the two weeks leading up to the big game, New England was dealing with lots and lots of critics and accusations of wrong doing, even though no one really knew the facts. It could have had an adverse effect on their morale and their preparation for the game. Instead it gave them added incentive to work hard and prove themselves to all of their critics. It became motivation rather than discouragement. When your critics, whether they be other people or your own inner critic, use it as motivation. Commit yourself to proving the critics wrong and succeeding in your business.
- Understand it’s a team effort. In the interviews after the game, one of the things you hear consistently from New England players is their respect for what their teammates bring to the team. They stress that the team success is due to all of its members, not just a select few. From the owner of the team on down they praise the teamwork of every member. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, there are always others who have helped along the way to success. From family members who put up with your abysmal hours to clients who give you glowing recommendations. Recognize that behind every successful business is some sort of team effort and recognize your ‘teammates’ for what they have contributed.
- Realize everyone isn’t going to love you, your business or your ideas. The controversy during the weeks prior to the big game proved more than ever that not everyone loves a winner. As business owners, even when we find success, there are going to be people out there looking to bring us down. But like the New England Patriots, if we understand that it’s an inevitable byproduct of finding success, it will bother us less. Realize that business success is going to bring out the haters and refuse to let it interfere with continued success. Focus on your ‘fans’ and ignore the haters.
Bonus Lesson from the Seattle Seahawks:
- Take responsibility. Speaking of critics, there were plenty complaining about Pete Carroll’s decision to call the passing play that resulted in the game ending interception. In post-game interviews he took the responsibility for the call, standing by his decision, even though it had come under fire. In business, we often try new ideas that just don’t work out. The best thing to do in those situations is to take responsibility for the call. Sometimes that will mean apologizing to a client and doing whatever you can to make things right. Sometimes it will mean realizing it was a bad decision and cutting your losses. The important thing is not to try and explain it away or blame it on someone or something else. Taking responsibility for failures shows strength of character and good business sense.
Even if you’re unhappy with the results of the Super Bowl, you can use these five lessons to help your business find success even in challenging situations.