First of all, if you’re not a sports fan, just hang in there with me for a moment, we’ll get to the point, I promise.
I was watching Monday Night Football on… well, Monday night. I’m sure many of you got to watch the same circus act that I did. Somehow, the Cleveland Browns managed to snatch the game from the jaws of victory, conserving their precious culture of having no vision and borderline refusing to win.
A quick summary, for those who missed it: with only a few seconds to go and the score tied up, all the Browns had to do was successfully kick a field goal and they would head home with a win. Instead, as time expired, their field goal attempt was blocked, and picked up by a defensive player who ran it all the way in for a game-winning touchdown. The clock showed zeros. Game over. You lose.
Now, let’s briefly circle back. Earlier in the game, the network ran a graphic that showed that in the last 7 years, the Cleveland Browns–a billion-dollar company–have had: 2 owners, 5 head coaches, 5 general managers, 6 offensive coordinators, and I believe something like a thousand starting quarterbacks, give or take.
This easily explains what we just saw the Browns do.
No vision. No consistency. You can’t hang your hat on a single thing in that organization. There is no steady thread of strategy or belief or conviction or vision or culture that runs throughout their actions.
So I began to think to myself: in what areas do I waffle back and forth like the unstable Browns? Where do I tend to react to short-term circumstance, rather than act with well-thought-out purpose?
To stick with the analogy, look at the teams who succeed. They have identity, they have systems they believe in and people who are committed to executing those systems. They have unified purpose and vision. They don’t abandon ship the first time they face opposition. They stick to the non-glamour of executing proven systems, day in and day out.
Practicing fundamentals isn’t glamorous. Sweating, bleeding, writing, running, brainstorming, learning, praying, meditating, stretching, reading–all those things that great people do behind closed doors, early in the morning or late at night with no one watching–are not glamorous. But there are those who jump from one shiny object to the next–“We lost again this year, let’s try another coach! Anyone will do!”–and those who commit to a vision and never deviate.
First: what is your vision? You must have clarity on this. It should direct your decision-making.
Next: what fundamentals, if applied consistently over time, will lead to this vision.
Finally: EXECUTE. Once you’ve identified those fundamentals, trust them and execute, consistently, over a long period of time.
Don’t be like the Browns who are consistent in basically nothing. Commit to a worthy vision, create systems and habits that support and lead to that vision, and then dig in and trust the system. That is what the great ones do.
Practicing fundamentals is not glamorous. But winning the Super Bowl sure as hell is.
GO-TO RESOURCE: One of the best examples I can think of with regards to someone sticking to a singular vision over a LONG period of time, is Steve Jobs. This book was phenomenal. A riveting biography that reads like a fiction. Check it out!