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What Does It Take To Be “The Best”?
As the New Year approaches…are you willing to go “all out”?
By: Scott McKain
Dec. 30, 2009 04:00 AM
It got me pondering the question about what it takes to be “the best”…especially in light of yesterday’s Indianapolis Colts game. I’m a HUGE Colts fan — and, not a “fair weather” type, either. I was going to games when they weren’t winning and were the league’s laughing stock.
In case you’re not a football fan, the Peyton Manning-led Colts were the NFL’s sole remaining undefeated team with a record of 14-0, with only two games left on the schedule. Only three other teams in the history of the game have gone undefeated for the regular season, and only one — the Miami Dolphins of 1972 — also won the Super Bowl, finishing the season and the playoffs without a loss.
Midway through the third quarter yesterday, against the New York Jets, while the Colts were leading — the decision was made by Coach Jim Caldwell (perhaps also by team president Bill Polian) to pull many of the Colts leading players from the game. The rationale was that saving Manning and other top talents from the rest of the game reduced the chance of injury that would ruin the Colts’ chances of winning the Super Bowl. However, it also ensured that the Jets would likely come back and win the game, spoiling the Colts quest for perfection.
Many fans were outraged…including this one.
First, there is an unwritten — often unspoken — bond between you and your customers. The Colts violated that yesterday. Certainly, if they had a couple of losses and nothing to play for, we fans would have been understanding. However, that wasn’t the case here. The Colts built a stadium financed, in part, by taxpayer money — and in total from fans spending for tickets.
If you booked me for a speech for 200 people and found out I had one the next day for an audience of 5000, would you be upset if I tanked the last part of my program to “save my voice” for a later one? Of course! You have paid for — and have a right to expect — my total effort for the entire engagement. When you break that trust with customers, there is space between you that didn’t exist in the past…and, you’ve planted the question regarding your future integrity.
You can stand to lose a customer. You can probably stand to lose an employee. You can NEVER stand to lose your integrity.
Second, it became obvious yesterday that Colts fans (or, “Colts customers”) didn’t want the team to forsake its opportunity to become recognized as one of the best teams EVER simply to attain a goal of being the best team this YEAR.
There’s a Super Bowl winner every year — and the Colts were champions not long ago — however, there has only been ONE team in HISTORY to achieve the distinction of undefeated champion. For the Colts to attain that level is the equivalent of football immortality.
To switch to a baseball analogy, we are tired of incremental improvements and organizations that hit singles instead of home runs. We are in an age where we would prefer you strike out by swinging hard than get a walk by taking every pitch. (Note the enthusiasm and buzz about Apple’s rumored tablet — or iSlate — as an example.)
The Colts probably won’t make much of an effort this coming Sunday in Buffalo…then, they have a week off before their first playoff game. I wonder if they’ll be able to recapture the excitement and timing essential to winning? The only year they won the Super Bowl was the only recent year where they had to play all-out, every game. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
As the New Year approaches…are you willing to go “all out”? Are you willing to risk injury for the glory of perfection?
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