George Perles, the head football coach of the Michigan State Spartans from 1983 to 1994, delivered a powerful message years ago. He shared a mantra from his days as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their heyday in the 1970s. He said, “We made every decision like we were going to the Super Bowl,” and they ended up winning the Super Bowl four times.
When he said they made every decision like they were going to the Super Bowl, that meant that they made these decisions long before they got to the Super Bowl, and then they eventually got there multiple times.
In sessions with clients, I observe many short-term band-aid solutions being put into place. These tend to stem from short-term thinking; they are trying to stop the pain on a short-term basis but never really solving the long-term problem or making the best decision for the long-term greater good of the company.
The Super Bowl is a metaphor for your company’s 10-year target (or BHAG).
Last year, I observed one particular client making too many short-term decisions. Knowing their 10-year target was to become a $50-million-dollar company, I planted a seed in their heads after a short-sighted solution by asking, “Is that a $50-million-dollar decision you’ve just made?” The mantra continued throughout the session and future sessions over the last year, and they are now making every decision in line with their long-term, greater good, 10-year target of becoming a $50 million dollar company.
Are you making every decision in line with your 10-year target? Like you are going to the Super Bowl?