Why Not You?

A guiding slogan in the Seattle Seahawk organization during seahawkthe regular season and playoffs was “Why not us?” This inspirational slogan originated from Seahawk quarterback, Russell Wilson, whose father would tell him as a young boy “Russ, why not you? Why can’t you be a world champion, whatever you want to be?” The season ending result: A second year quarterback and the fourth youngest team ever, goes onto win pro football’s greatest show – the 2014 Super Bowl.

The Seahawk Super Bowl win was due to more than just a slogan.  The coaching staff had worked hard in the preceding years to bring in and mix-and-match the right players, developing highly skilled players at each position, and molding the three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – into a formidable opponent. The slogan was the coup de grâce in that it unified the team throughout the season as they encountered and overcame adversity and kept their focus on the goal – getting to, and winning, the Super Bowl.

The Seahawk success began years earlier with a change in leadership, a new team philosophy, recruitment of the right chemistry, attitude, skill and desire in team members, and most significantly, a commitment to execution. Add to this, a unifying goal that the members of the team could identify with, and the Seahawks experienced a successful outcome.

Can the Seahawk experience apply to your organization? The answer is yes, but each organization is different. In most cases you will not have the degree of freedom that Seahawk owner, Paul Allen, had in retooling the Seahawk organization. If you are a business leader seeking to change the success experience of an organization then you will need to examine each aspect of your business from top to bottom. Here are four key areas to examine and incorporate into your new approach to running your business successfully. A more complete set of suggested changes, specific to your business can be developed by a “business success” assessment of your business by a qualified professional.

  1. Establish a vision that you consistently and regularly communicate to everyone in your business and everyone you do business with.
  2. Commit to a strategic planning process that is published to all operating members of the business, has measureable goals and is reviewed and updated at least three to four times a year.
  3. Regularly make yourself available to all levels of your organization and evaluate their understanding and execution of the goals, values and principles of your business.
  1. Make sure you have the right people in positions where they are capable of meeting or exceeding objectives.
  2. Establish clear job descriptions and provide training/mentoring for all positions in your business.
  3. Regular performance reviews should occur formally, no less than annually, and should be supported by informal performance discussions at least quarterly.
  1. All transactions of the business should be documented in operating procedures that are available to all employees involved.
  2. All cycles of the business that handle “rejected”, “scrap”, “redo”, “need more information” transactions should be measured and reported to management.
  3. Executive management should review the process flow of the business annually.
  4. Team members should review all processes for process improvement annually.
  1. All critical processes should be measured and monitored by levels of management.
  2. Executive management should have access to a “dashboard” of critical business process information that reports the operational performance of the business at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly).

Adopting these measures will initially result in resistance, as they will be new, and some employees may find them uncomfortable or threatening due to the measurement and executive review. As the senior leader, it will be up to you to facilitate a successful transition to the new methods and practices of the business. This will require some handholding, as longer term employees successfully overcome their reservations and fear finding that their jobs have become more rewarding under the new concepts that have been implemented.

Where Russell Wilson used a “Why not us?” slogan you might find a “Why not you?” slogan to be effective with employees who drag their feet in coming to the party and adopting new business disciplines. Promoting examples of how other employees have found the “new process” rewarding will erode and overcome resistance.

People need confidence to perform at levels or in ways they are not used to. People are afraid of failure and need the encouragement of “Why not you?” to do things differently then realize they can perform at a level beyond where they became comfortable resulting in a more productive performance for the business.

As the leader of the business you may need to be the first to experience the “Why not you?” slogan. Business leaders, particularly owners, can often see where others resist change but can be blind to their own resistance or worse impeding change. Be the first to embody “Why not you?” in how you demonstrate your adoption of new business disciplines, values and practices.

“Why not us?” became the mantra of the Seahawks and successfully leveraged the rebuilding of the organization, team execution, and caliber of players and coaches at every position. The result was a Super Bowl victory.

Take advantage of your business rebuilding investment and unify your team to achieve exceptional business performance.

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