I have just returned for the annual NFL Business Seminar, at which I attended the public relations sessions with my counterparts from the other 31 teams, and a week earlier I was able to attend the NFL’s annual meeting of owners, coaches, and high level football personnel people.
You take a lot of notes at meeting like that, some involving new thoughts and projects, others that just remind oneself of perhaps a better way to do something. When you stop taking notes, you slip up. You have to try to stay sharp.
I saw a sign in a weight room once that said, “strength is not permanent. You have to keep working on it.” The same is true of being effective at whatever you are doing.
Now that I am back in the office, there are a varied number of tasks, projects and issues to be started, continued, or finished, and it is like that for everyone in the NFL right now.
We get the chance to share ideas, borrowing and stealing the best ones from our friends and associates, and now is the time when all these thoughts are being translated into action elements by the various departments, football and administrative.
What that points up to me is something that the average fan often is anaware of–the fact that a lot of the work is just a matter of grinding it out, every day, taking the day at its start, usually around seven a.m., and just working the work that has to be done.
There is an old saying that you should plan your work, and then work your plan. Working your plan is the part that would seem completely boring to anyone on the outside, but which is the most fundamental part of giving yourself an opportunity to succeed in the coming year.
Doing all the organizational work during the week is what gives you the chance to win on Sunday, and in some cases can make it the simplest day of the week–after all, if the student is prepared, he should not be afraid to take the test.
Our player personnal people–like those of all the other theams–are hard at it right now getting ready for the draft at the end of the month. And that is a great example of just grinding it out.
They have all the reports, as well as all the video you can imagine, but eventually a complete analysis has to be made that ranks all these players in an order–and different teams have differnt ideas of how they choose to do that–but regardless, it involves hours, days, weeks, and untimately, months of organized work that all comes together in the last few weeks.
It takes meeting after meeting, comment after comment by the scouts who have seen each player, along the input from coaches, all making a final deretmination as to how someone fits into an organization.
The rest of our departments are not doing anything as exciting as the draft, but marketing is estalishing its sponsors and promotional initiatives, the ticket office is getting all the tickets renewed and making plans to sell those which remain available, and PR is planning and organizing media policy and access for every remaining day of the year that involves the coming together of team functions and the press–and the press will assuredly be at any team activity that they are allowed to attend, most notably practices and interview sessions.
There are specific NFL rules as to the access which we must allow, but each team still has to determine how best to tailor that to its own needs, eventually matching press requirements and mandates with the most important team goal of making sure that all distractions are minimized as the players and coaches go about their work.
And all of this is a matter of grinding, just taking one task at a time and doing it, like a big puzzle that you put together one tiny piece at a time.
Sometimes when people ask me how we won back-to-back Super Bowls–and of course superb talent is always a preeminent factor in that type of success–but I have answered that by saying we did it 40 seconds at a time.
That is, just like a team emphasizing maximum effort, focus, and performance on each play, one at a time, so too do those of us behind the scenes just keep laying bricks, one at a time, but not drifting from the task at hand.
You can’t take yourself away from the task, or the mortar will dry up.
And any bricklayer knows that is not a good thing.