Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Like a Hawk

On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins, giving legitimacy to a rather unorthodox year. Which got me thinking: What organizational lessons can we learn from this team?

1.     Don’t be afraid to make the right decision, especially if it’s unpopular. In the off-season, the Hawks signed Matt Flynn, a semi-experienced back-up QB, to a sizable contract. They also drafted an undersized QB, named Russell Wilson, in the third round. Against all odds, the rookie got the job.  
2.     Develop systems to discover talent. The Seahawks could have just named Flynn the starter and be done with it. They could have assumed that his “job title” brought with him the requisite skills to succeed. But by giving them both the same assignment, it allowed the coaching staff to evaluate them fairly and without bias.
3.     Just because a client has the money, doesn’t mean they know how to do your job. There must have been tremendous pressure within the organization to start Flynn, but the coaching staff was given the all-important final say.
4.     Sometimes bad things have a way of working themselves out. At the end of the game against Green Bay, the officials botched the call. Should the Seahawks have intentionally missed the extra point to resolve the game in overtime? Yes. But they didn’t. What’s my point? Both teams moved on from the incident, took care of the games they needed to and are now in the playoffs with a chance to play again.
5.     Defense is just as important as offense. While the star QBs tend to get the headlines, it’s important to remember they can’t do it alone. A strong support staff—accountants, lawyers, proofreaders, linebackers—are just as valuable to a team’s success, both on and off the field.  
6.     Don’t count on Washington to get it done. Cheap shot at our current government? You betcha. But it’s a healthy reminder to always have a strong backup (plan) in case the worst-case scenario happens.
7.     When all else fails … run. As fast as you can! Ideally with blockers.