Since we moved to San Diego, over a decade ago, my husband has been a diehard Chargers fan. Every year I hear the same two sentences: “This is our year! The Chargers are going all the way.” Then a game like yesterday’s happens.
With less than seven minutes on the clock, the Chargers are looking victorious with a 13 point lead over the New Orleans Saints (34-21). By the time I return from a break, the game is over with a final score of 35-34. Saints win.
“What happened?!” I ask in disbelief.
I’m not a football expert, and I realize that a lot goes into losing a sizable lead in the fourth quarter. But since we are in fact entering the fourth quarter of 2016, I thought we could seize the opportunity to learn from the Chargers and put winning strategies in place to take on and win our fourth quarter.
Lesson 1: Fourth Quarter Wins Are a Team Effort
Fourth quarters aren’t won in a vacuum. In the words of Chargers’ nose tackle, Brandon Mebane, after their loss:
We want to win, we just have to figure out the fourth quarter as a team. We are not going to point fingers at anybody. We win as a team and we lose as a team.
Winning Strategy: Take account of who is part of your team and bring them together as soon as possible. Do a fourth quarter SWOT Analysis: Brainstorm and uncover the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats facing your team and business. Get on the same page about leveraging your strengths and opportunities—and mitigating the weaknesses of your team as well as the threats to your business.
Lesson 2: Fight Till the Very End
Regardless of the score, you can’t let your foot off the pedal. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon says it best:
You have to just keep working; you can’t give up. I don’t think anyone in here is built to give up. You have to fight.
Winning Strategy: Vision leaks, so you have to determine to keep the “Why” alive for yourself and for your team. Create visual reminders around you to fuel the team’s focused intensity. Talk about it often, daily in fact.
Lesson 3: Don’t Give Your Victory Away
Oftentimes, losing the last quarter, especially when everything looks as if a victory is eminent, boils down to dumb mistakes that give the game away. Chargers’ Head Coach Mike McCoy admitted to that:
. . . [W]e absolutely gave this one away.”
In business, giving the game away also boils down to dumb choices, usually associated with poor communication. Here are a few:
- Insufficient or unclear internal communication
- Insufficient or unclear communication with customers
- Subpar customer service
- Long and unproductive meetings
- Inability to inspire confidence & trust
Winning Strategy: Inspire a culture of feedback and accountability. Be willing to evaluate blind spots and to ask for help that can address them as soon as possible.
Well, we still love the Chargers and know they’ll do their best to recover from this loss. In the meantime, let’s learn from their unfortunate loss and win our last quarter.
P.S. If you have already recognized that some of the communication challenges listed above are threatening your fourth quarter results, I’d love to help. Contact me at (858) 707-5542 or apply for a discovery session here.
P.S.S. If you are in San Diego, October 17, join me at Business Breakthrough University Live, a mastermind devoted to win the last quarter. We have limited space, so RSVP now.