Friday, March 22, 2013

The Importance of Communication -- Football Analogy

Thanks DustPuppy on Flickr for this photo.
On a football team, when the huddle is called and all eleven offensive players gather together, the quarterback announces the play to the entire offensive -- not selective members. The transparency of communicating with all members of the offense at once allows the entire unit to execute the play seamlessly. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the quarterback only communicated the play to the fullback and/or tailback. How would the linemen know who to block? What  patterns would receivers run? Now imagine the scenario if the quarterback only told the play to the linemen, but not the other members of the offense. Where are the fullback and tailback going? As you can see, the quarterback needs to communicate with all members of the offense in order to execute the simplest play in the playbook. Without communication, nothing productive happens. Within organizations, leaders need to communicate with the entire organization. The leader communicates the vision, mission, and knowledge to the entire team, so that everyone can execute the play together.

But you ask me, "What about when the quarterback improvises?" Glad you asked! The quarterback improvises based off the original play communicated to the entire offense. As the leader on the field, the quarterback needs to react to changes and problems that develop during executing the original play. The quarterback may decide to throw the ball to the wide receiver running the post route, because he sees that the player is open and will be able to score a touchdown; where as, the original intended receiver is double covered. This is a modification to the original play, not a different play. Leaders need to be able to modify and adjust plans as problems occur, but based off the original plan that was communicated to the entire organization. When a plan needs modifying or adjusting, the leader communicates the changes as quickly as possible to the entire organization, so that everyone can execute the new plan seamlessly and without confusion.

Is your organization trying to run a play but the play has only be communicated to certain members of the offense? How can you get all team members executing the play seamlessly?