There Are No Freebies - Lessons From the 2014 Super Bowl

I really wanted the Broncos to win. I’ve spent time in Denver, and it’s a great town. Colorado is a beautiful state that offers anyone anything. But I don’t hold any allegiance to Denver or the Broncos, although their executive VP, John Elway, is a legend. I didn’t follow their season, and I don’t have their jersey.

Still, I really wanted the Broncos to win!

Why? Because I think Peyton Manning is a great guy, and a great quarterback. If anyone deserves to win the Super Bowl, it’s Peyton Manning.

He is considered by most, fans and competitors alike, to be one of the greats. He has broken so many records, even after being without a team and facing a serious neck injury, he has more than proven his worth and his will.

I have always thought him to be a gentleman, a good loser and a humble winner. He even has a sense of humor, as seen during his explanation of what “Omaha!” means.

Peyton Manning seems like a good, decent human being, and I like to see great people do great things. Other than that, I had no horse in the race, and simply wanted to see a good game.

The Seattle Seahawks had other plans. There are many reasons Seattle beat the Broncos so badly, and I’ll leave the game breakdown to the sports commentators. But the Seahawks were the all-around better team on Super Bowl Sunday. They didn't care who deserved what, or what someone was owed. They decided to earn their win the hard way.

There is a valuable business and life lesson to be learned here.

Football coaches and players often use the phrase “the most important game of the season, because it’s the next.” At that professional level, it is so competitive, you must treat each and every game as if it is the single most important game ever. If you don’t, you lose.

In the business world we all work in, a fast-paced environment of global competition, big data and first movers, we have to treat the next game likes it’s the most important. But in our playground, the next game means the next proposal, the next contract, the next big pitch.

If you don’t plan and execute properly for each one, you’ll soon have a string of big losses.

And, for businesspeople, the stakes are higher.

There is no “next season”. The scoreboard never resets for us. It’s a competition that never ends, and the scoreboard has no limit. There are no referees to call penalties. If we get hit hard, we either lie there, bleeding, or pick ourselves up and get ready for the next play.

We need to work like the Seahawks do.

The Seattle Seahawks came into the Big Game prepared to win. Despite anyone’s “hopes” of seeing Peyton Manning get one more ring to cement his legendary status, Seattle came to win. They had prepared and practiced. They had a game plan that obviously worked very well.

I’m sure they all respect Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but that didn’t stop them from doing everything in their power to beat him.

There’s a lot of phrases and ideas tossed around in the business world: Adding value, excellent customer service, being the best at what you do. But these are more than just good ideas, and they have to become more than just good intentions. You have to live and breathe them every day. You have to train and inspire your team to embody those qualities in all they do.

You have to work harder than the competition today, and prepare, because tomorrow is the biggest day of your life.

MonMan is a Division 09, 15 and 16 firm specializing in market entry, sales channel development and service of efficient solutions for mission critical facilities.

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