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Ken Keller: Is your team ‘rebuilding,’ or is it a contender?

Brain Food for Business Owners

Posted: July 15, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: July 15, 2012 1:30 a.m.

The NFL training camps open soon, and I am looking forward to a visit to the Dallas Cowboys’ practice field in Oxnard in August.  

All fans of sporting teams have high hopes before the season starts — this could be the championship year for their team.

A few teams know they won’t be contending but can’t say anything, lest they damage reputation and revenue.

Some teams speak of being in a “rebuilding year,” and that serves to mollify fans that possess eternal hope in their team. There are those who make it clear from the outset that they expect to “win it all” and precede on that basis until events and the competition cause the dream to disappear until next season. Then the cycle begins again.

Some of the media pundits have said, repeatedly through the years, that “strong defenses win Super Bowls.” I am not so sure.

I think that what matters is that when the game is over with, regardless of the sport, that your team has more points, runs, goals or whatever it is, on the scoreboard than the opponent.

Yes, if the sport allows it, your team may score some points on defense, but most teams win by putting more points on the board when they are offense.

At my high school in PE, each quarter we played a different sport. One quarter, we played soccer. We didn’t learn the rules, and there weren’t a lot of guidelines. I guess the coach determined we would figure things out on our own.

His approach was along the lines of, “This is PE; go out and run around for 50 minutes or so. Have some fun, and don’t get hurt. And don’t spend too much time trying to talk to the girls.”  

Each team had five players. As captain, I picked a goalie, and determined that I would stay back with one guy to defend. I sent the remaining two down with the objective to score goals.

The opposing captain decided to keep his goalie alone to defend their goal. He and three other guys came down the field to score.  

We spent the entire game defending our goal.

They never stopped attacking.

Even though we outnumbered them, 5-to-4, they had a very different mindset.  

The opposing captain was focused on staying in my half of the field and on scoring goals.

I was never able to get any momentum with my team to move the ball to where we could score a goal.

This was because I had the wrong mindset. I was singularly focused on defending my goal. I was in a prevent defense.

But what I was really doing was preventing my team from winning.

The opposing captain had essentially told his team, “Let’s go down there, score a bunch of goals, and blow them out.”

I felt it was more important to keep the opponent from scoring than for my team to score more than they did.

I don’t remember what the final score was. I do remember losing, badly.

This article isn’t about football or some high school memory I had of running around playing soccer when I was 16.

The bigger issue is whether your company is on offense or defense. Is your company building or maintaining? Is it growing or stagnant?

Are you adding new customers, staying flat or declining? Is your revenue increasing, flat-lining or dropping?

I recommend you look at your calendar (and that of your sales team if you have one) to see how much time has actually been invested in new prospect calls and visits.

The calendar reveals all you need to know about actually being on offense or defaulting to defense.

Ken Keller is CEO of STAR Business Consulting Inc., a company that works with companies interested in growing top line revenue. He can be reached at Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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