The Red Zone

As football teams chase championship glory in their post-season battles, they practice diligently to deliver peak performance.  Coaches help players break the game down into specific components, developing strategies for offense and defense, the ground game and the passing game, kickoffs and returns.

When a team arrives within striking distance of the goal line, traditional offense transforms into special ops approach.   The strategy shifts, with the entire focus centered on that final push into the end zone.  Great teams practice and prepare for this moment so they can execute with Navy SEAL precision and put points on the board.  Specific moves are rehearsed, focus narrows, and all energy is placed on crossing the line.

In our business lives, this same approach can yield meaningful results.  We’re often working toward a specific outcome – winning the big sale, launching a new product, expanding into a new geography.  As you marshal your big project down the proverbial field, it’s important to shift the approach when you near the goal line in the same way football teams develop their own specific set of plays.

As I built my company, we had a weekly “RedZone” meeting.  Key leaders and team members on the front lines would gather for a specific reason: to evaluate the deals about to close and develop creative approaches to landing them.  We’d go through each RedZone deal to see what specifically needed to happen to proceed.  We looked for creative ways to conquer obstacles, remove friction, and lock in the win.  Sometimes this involved hand delivering a contract; other times it involved composing and performing a rap song to remind the client why we were the right choice.  We simply looked for any and all ways we could influence the outcome and shorten the time to close.  Like in football, we realized that results are binary – the ball either crosses the line to deliver points or it falls short with all the preceding effort wasted.

Too often, we fumble on the one-yard line.  We work diligently to move our efforts across far distances through treacherous terrain, only to come up empty handed.  By recognizing when you’re in the final leg and crafting a specific playbook for your own RedZone efforts, you can improve your chances of success.  This approach helps you and your team focus, harnessing your energy, resources, and creativity to strike hardest when it matters most.

In the New Year, think about developing a specific RedZone approach to the most important initiatives you embrace.  Even a small percentage improvement in your performance could lead to championship results.  Here’s to hoping you win big in 2017, creating your own SuperBowl-sized victory.