...in the Super Bowl! After a terrific season up to that point and a record of 10-2, the Eagles’ Quarterback, Carson Wentz, found himself injured and unable to complete the game against the Rams. The backup Quarterback, Nick Foles, stepped in to finish out the game with a win. Nick Foles would also go on to finish out the Eagles’ season while Carson healed for next year. Although Nick wasn’t as strong as Carson on the field and left many fans anxious after his first 3 games as first string, he played very strong in the NFC Championship and he and his teammates landed themselves in the Super Bowl after 14 years. Even though the team’s star Quarterback (who was the #1 ranked Quarterback in the NFL) was out for the rest of the season, the Eagle’s pulled together, changed their strategy, and did the unthinkable. How?
They adapted to the situation rather than cursing it and just playing like they usually did. So many things had to happen to allow the Eagles to achieve what they have. The Coaches had to figure out what made Foles shine in the past so he could do so once again, Foles had to find his comfort zone and get out of his own head, the offensive team had to learn a new strategy that complimented the way their new Quarterback played, and they all had to work together and believe that they could do the unbelievable. They were the underdogs in the Championship game on their home field and they dominated. Going into the Super Bowl, the Eagles are still the underdogs. Rather than question if they could make it to the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia team used that status to fuel them to work harder and be stronger than anyone thought they could to prove to all the doubters that they were wrong. And they will continue to use their underdog title as they power through their practices and preparation for the biggest NFL game of the year to do what they know they can do and what they deserve to do - win. It takes great leadership, perseverance, hard work, and a hell of a lot of believing in yourself to do what the Eagles did.
The team you work with every day in your office is no different than the Philadelphia Eagles once you take away their uniforms, all the media, and the smashing into each other. The Board of Directors for your company represent the Owner(s) of the NFL team. The Executives are the Managers, the Vice Presidents and higher-level Managers are the Coaches, and everyone else is a member of the offensive, defensive, or special teams. In order for your company to thrive, everyone needs to work together and direction has to come from the top with complete alignment from everyone on the team. The Board of Directors, Executives, Vice Presidents, and higher-level Managers are the strategizers for your team. They scope out the competition to find the best way to beat them and analyze their team’s strengths so they can utilize those efficiently and effectively. Everyone else on the team follows the direction of those above them to do the best they can to help achieve the company’s goals. If the direction from above isn’t utilizing resources to the best of their ability and figuring out the best strategy for success, your company won’t be as successful as it could be. Passes will be intercepted, fumbles will occur, and there will be a hole in your offense so the opponent’s d-line can sack your Quarterback. If everyone isn’t learning, practicing, and executing on the same plays, then you may not make it to the Super Bowl - or the Inc. 500 or Fortune 100 lists.
The leadership team of the Eagles figured out a path they thought was the best chance of success and they executed on it, making sure everyone on the team was aligned, knew what part they played, and what they were all working towards. They did this by analyzing past games to see what improvements they can make, as well as scoping out their competition to see where their weaknesses may be. Not every play in the Championship game worked out the way they had hoped, but the team stuck with their strategy rather than changing it up every time something didn’t work out in their favor. They believed in their plan, they believed in their fellow teammates, and they believed in themselves. And they’re now they're in the Super Bowl.
Organizations sometimes shift gears if they aren’t seeing the results they were hoping/planning on seeing right away. They go down a different path rather than just trusting their original plan or putting small tweaks into effect. This can cause misalignment amongst the organization if the messaging for the new direction isn’t specific, direct, and timely. If the C-Suite is huddled together thinking of a new company strategy every quarter and never telling the rest of the team what that strategy is or why they changed it, how can they expect to have everyone on board and moving in the same direction? The Eagles probably would have never won if the coaches and QB decided on their next play together without huddling with the offense to tell them the plan. Once the ball snapped, each player on the offense would have played out their roles to the best of the ability. But without any coordination, there would never be the alignment for an epic play and very rarely would they be able to make progress.
In summary - your company can be just as great as the Philadelphia Eagles by following the same strategy they used to make it to the Super Bowl:
- Assess your team’s strengths and utilize them as much as possible
- Change your strategy to match your opponent and available team members and stick with it, even if some plays don’t work out like you hoped
- Gain alignment around the strategy by everyone every single time it’s altered
- Look back to different situations (successes as well as failures) to learn what went well and what didn’t go well for continuous improvement
- Work hard, play hard, and believe in yourself even when no one else does