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Using Your M.O. at the Super Bowl

What’s the ‘best’ conative M.O. for a head football coach?  Will an initiating Fact Finder coach who builds a game plan based on statistics, tendencies, and other data be more successful than an initiating Quick Start who designs a fluid strategy that changes every quarter and includes a number of trick plays?

Anyone familiar with Kolbe WisdomTM knows that there is no “perfect” M.O. for any career.  For example, successful serial entrepreneurs often are initiating Quick Starts.  However, even a resistant Quick Start who surrounds herself with the right team also can be highly successful starting up new businesses.

So, if you’re a football coach planning a winning strategy for the Super Bowl, the key to success lies in identifying your own conative strengths as well as those of your assistants and your players, and then figuring out how each of these individuals contributes to the success of the team.

While we don’t know the M.O. of either coach in this year’s Super Bowl, all indications are that there will be no shortage of Quick Start energy at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll is known around the league as someone who tries to recruit players who don’t fit in anywhere else, and he will certainly take risks with unconventional personnel decisions in key situations.

Late in the third quarter of  the NFC championship game earlier this month, Seattle was trailing 16 – 0 and lined up for a field goal.  Then, rather than going for the (fairly safe) three points, the Seahawks fooled everyone (including the defense) by having their punter, Jon Ryan, toss a touchdown pass to Garry Gilliam – a rookie who wasn’t even selected in the NFL draft.  Gilliam is 6-foot-5 and weighs more than 300 pounds.  That’s not the physical profile of an NFL receiver, and he’s not the guy anyone would expect to be sent downfield for a critical pass.  In short, it was a risk that Pete Carroll and his staff were willing to take.  The fake field goal surprised the Packers, and it paid off big!

On the other side of the field will be New England Head Coach Bill Belichick, a successful innovator who is known for taking risks and making surprise decisions.  A few years ago, he resigned from the New York Jets only days after being named as the team’s new head coach.   In 2001, he named Tom Brady as starting quarterback even though the Patriots’ previous starter, Drew Bledsoe, had recently signed a 10-year contract.  Another time, in a game against Denver, the score was tied at the end of regulation.  After winning the coin toss, Belichick opted for field position and let Denver have the ball first!  Crazy as it might sound, that decision gave New England the wind advantage, and they won the game.

Of course, there is more to winning football games than trick plays and unconventional decisions.  Legendary Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry became one of the greatest coaches in NFL history by using lots of facts and figures to back up his decisions.  Landry was the first NFL coach to hire an assistant coach to analyze opposing teams’ films and chart their tendencies.  Armed with this information, Landry could anticipate the opposing team’s most likely actions in specific situations.  Landry once said, “If you are prepared, you will be confident, and do the job.”  (Do you think he was an initiating Fact Finder?)

Today, professional football has become so competitive that coaches must incorporate all conative strengths to win championships.  Teams have to adapt to unexpected developments, know their opponents’ tendencies, take risks, and focus on fundamentals. 

At work or in the Super Bowl, every conative strength can contribute to the success of the team.

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Kolbe Consultant Honored

Kolbe CertifiedTM Consultant Joan O. Wright, MSW, MCC - founder and president of O'Sullivan Wright, Inc. - was recently honored as one of the “50 Most Influential Women” which recognizes the important role women play in the greater Charlotte region. The honorees are selected based on professional accomplishment and community involvement. Congratulations Joan!


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