Taking the Offensive

Taking the Offensive

In honor of Super Bowl week, I am boldly going to make a prediction about the outcome of the big game: the winner will be the team that spends the most time on offense.

Now, of course, if you’re a football fan, you know that’s not always a given; it IS possible to spend more time than your opponent on offense and still lose. But it’s not a frequent occurrence.

The team that spends the most time on offense is spending more time actively moving the ball toward its opponent’s end zone, and, as a result, tends to score more points. The team that spends too much time sitting back on defense, waiting to see what its opponent does and then attempting to stop it, usually comes up short.

Well, so it goes in business. And in reality, playing offense or defense is a decision we make daily…even hourly. But let’s frame in it slightly different terms: being proactive vs. being reactive.

Think about even the smallest decisions you make during the course of a day…say, buying pencils. (That’s assuming you still USE pencils, but hear me out.)

You could wait until a flyer shows up in your mailbox with the latest deal from your corner office supply store….reactive….or you could spend five minutes online and find a deal that will bring you better pencils at a lower price, maybe even with your name stamped on them.  Proactive….with a way better final score.

Is your game plan built around a strong offense? A solid plan of attack, with a variety of different plays, strategies, and options designed to ultimately score points and outperform your opponent?

Or do you spend more time on defense, laying back, waiting to see what the other team is going to do, and then trying to respond?

Obviously, you need to do both; it’s how the game is played. But a strong, proactive business strategy that will move you forward is critical to success on the field, and in the office.

We hear a lot of folks in different arenas tell us that the uncertainties within their particularly volatile industry force them into a reactive game plan—why plan, they say, when we never know what’s going to happen from day to day? We might as well just wait and see what the rest of the world throws at us, and respond as best we can.

Well, yes…and no. Like I said, playing defense is a necessary part of the game, but abandoning any sort of offensive strategy leaves you meandering around the field and poorly positioned to score when you finally get an opportunity for an open run to the goal line.

Those opportunities don’t just happen; they are the result of examining the market, knowing the competition, and drawing up not just one, but a whole bunch of plays.

In the business world, this is called….(say it with me)….strategic planning.

And it’s rare that even the most gifted athlete wins the title without a game plan.

There’s an old saying that “the best offense is a good defense.” Well, I say the best offense is a good OFFENSE. And when you start letting this philosophy drive even the smallest decisions, I predict you’re going to see positive results.

And THAT’S a safe bet.

Grow Big or Go Home!