The reading level for this article is All Levels
Recently Brett Favre, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, broke the all-time NFL touchdown record. As a fan of football and Green Bay (I grew up in Wisconsin) I’ve had the opportunity to watch Favre over the years, and I also realized how his career provides some valuable business-building lessons.
How? Because success is success, whether you’ve built a multi-billion dollar company, written a dozen best-selling novels or are a famous quarterback. Many of the same mindset and principles are the same no matter how the success manifests itself. What’s nice about sports is first, it’s public (the games are televised and the players are forever being interviewed so you can get to know them a little) and second, you can see things unfold in a short amount of a time. An entire game is completed in 3 hours, compared to business where you don’t always see success or failure that fast (although sometimes it feels like it!)
That said, this is the second of a 2-part article where I’ll share a total of 6 principles (both good and bad) you can learn from Favre to become a more successful business owner.
1. Favre is a great leader. Right now, the Packers are the youngest team in the NFL and they have a 7-1 record. To further put this feat into perspective, they have no running game to speak of. If you don’t follow football, let me explain. There are 2 ways for an offense to move a football down the field — you run and you pass. If you don’t have anyone who can run the football, you pass. And you end up being lopsided because all you do is pass, and defenders KNOW all you’re going to do is pass, and it’s harder to fool them. Despite that, Favre is successfully throwing the ball down the field and the receivers are successfully catching it.
How can this be? Because Favre is busy coaching and leading those young receivers. His experience is making up for the lack of experience surrounding him. And it’s working.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you need to be a leader as well. In fact, when you start building a team, that’s what your team is going to expect from you. A vendor once told me she had left her previous position because the owner had lost his vision. Your team wants you to have that vision, that’s what draws them to you. They want to be a part of something bigger. So give them that.
2. Favre is still passionate about the game. Favre is 38 years old, which is about 207 in NFL years, and still plays like a kid. It’s clear how much he loves to play. Sadly, because he’s surrounded by guys playing for fame and money, it truly makes him stand out. (When he was one touchdown pass away from breaking the record, he told an interviewer “it’s not going to make any difference if I break the record and we don’t win the game.” And after he broke it, and did his celebration, he was back on the sidelines looking at photos and getting ready to get back on the field. That’s true passion.)
You need to be passionate about what you do. When you are, it’s obvious. People are drawn to you and want to work with you based on that passion. Plus, when you are passionate, you’re having fun. (The Packers are probably having the most fun of any NFL team right now.) And, in the end, isn’t having fun what’s it all about?
3. Favre does what needs to be done to win. It doesn’t happen too often anymore (now that Favre almost needs a walker to get on the field) but Favre used to block. Yes, the quarterback would occasionally get out there and throw a good block to get the running game going. This is pretty much unheard of, quarterbacks blocking, because it increases the odds they can get hurt. Yet Favre would do it. And, when it worked, he’d be the first one jumping up and congratulating the runner.
He does what needs to be done to win. He doesn’t worry about his record or his ego or what else is going on, just as long as the Packers are winning.
As a business owner, this is especially poignant. One of the biggest differences between successful people and unsuccessful people is successful people do what needs to be done to be successful. Not just the fun stuff. Not just what they feel like doing. They do the things unsuccessful people don’t or won’t do. And ultimately, that makes them more successful.