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September 17, 2013 » 6:36 pm

Two Collaboration Insights from Last Weekend’s Football Games

It’s football season! Today, I came across two gems about this past weekend’s games that spoke to me about collaboration in general.

Data and Impact

In reaming Tennessee Titans coach, Mike Munchak, Bill Barnwell wrote:

Mike Munchak put us all through a lot of field goals for no real reason, and in doing so, he illuminated the difference between meaningful game management and the illusion of impact.

In this one, biting sentence, Barnwell is offering commentary on how we evaluate coaches. When you kick a field goal, you’re putting points on the board, and so it may look like you’re getting results. But the real question is whether kicking a field goal the highest impact move you could have made at the time. The sports analytics movement has shown that some of our most common practices are often the worst moves we can make, even though they give us the illusion of progress.

Sound familiar?

Fundamentals

The Seattle Seahawks have the league’s stingiest defense, and they completely dismantled the San Francisco 49ers powerful offense this past weekend. How did they do it? Gregg Easterbrook wrote:

The short version of the success of the Seahawks’ defense is good players who hustle, communicate with each other and wrap-up tackle. Contemporary NFL defenses are so plagued by players’ desire for spectacular plays that make “SportsCenter” that blown coverages and missed assignments have become de rigueur. Seattle’s defense almost never has a broken play. And those lads can tackle! Seattle misses fewer tackles than any NFL defense. Lots of wrap-up tackles where the runner gains an extra yard are better than a few spectacular hits for a loss, plus frequent missed tackles. Seattle defenders understand this.

Hustle, communicate, execute. It sounds so basic, it’s almost a cliche.

A big reason I developed Changemakers Bootcamp was my realization that getting really, really good at the basics could have a much bigger impact than on inventing new tools or processes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of attention and focus seems to be on the latter rather than the former. We see lots of stories from sports and other fields what a mistake this can be.

Photo by Philip Robertson. CC BY 2.0.

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One Response to “Two Collaboration Insights from Last Weekend’s Football Games”

  1. Eugene, I just realized you've achieved my dream with the changemaker's bootcamp. Building a business around sports / collaboration metaphors. Thanks for carrying the torch!

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