As a New York Giants fan it hurts to say this, but when you are looking for a business to model yours after you should start with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why? Consistency. The Steelers have set a course for their franchise and follow it until all options are exhausted. They see the outside influences of the NFL and make small changes to their roster but they keep their philosophy and they keep their eye on the goal of winning Super Bowls.
In the last 44 seasons they have been coached by 3 people. Chuck Knoll, Bill Cowher and now Mike Tomlin. All three have 100 wins on their resume, with Mr. Tomlin achieving that feat on Sunday, December 11th. They have different images and coached in different eras but have won with what they have. The organization has won because of the three men but also because of their philosophy in running their organization not waffling.
In the 1970s Chuck Knoll won with a hard nosed running game and stellar defense. In the 1990s Mr Cowher won with a balanced offense and a great defense. Mike Tomlin is winning with a passing attack and good defense. The changes in each coaches philosophy have been dictated by the league but the Steelers keep winning because they have charted their path and then followed it to completion. As the league has gone from 3 yards and a cloud of dust to a high-flying aerial attack the Steelers have adapted but not changed for change sake.
In business the same is true. The economy changes, daily, and certain tweaks need to be made but if you have a goal and pursue it with tenacity you can be successful despite the outside influences. Business get themselves into trouble when they allow the outside to impact every decision to the point that they are no longer following their chartered path. When you stop and start you are no longer focusing on the existing path and now going down a new one. When that happens the time to success is restarting.
Think about the NFL and the coaching carousel. Every time a team hires a new head coach it is not just bringing in a new head coach. They are bringing in a new philosophy, new needs and more. Everything up to that point has to stop and be thrown out to start again. If a new coach is brought in 3 years later then the plan and vision change once again. There are plenty of teams in sports that can be used as examples but the Cleveland Browns are the first that come to mind. It seems as if every year or two there is a new coach, new roster of players, new GM and personnel decision makers. With that kind of turnover it is nearly impossible to keep a consistent message and vision. Players and front office employees can be hesitant to set down roots and possibly not giving everything they have to the organization. What can happen then is that not everybody is rowing in the same direction and then more change is needed. It becomes a never ending circle of change.
Running your own business is tough but do not sabotage it by making changes unless they fit your ultimate goal. In order to ensure they do, an ultimate goal has to be established and it must be specific. A goal of making money is not specific enough. A goal of $1,000,000 profit is. With that as a goal, you can work backwards and set your path to success. Do what it takes to reach that profit goal but do not make a change just to make a change. Ask yourself if the change that you are considering is going to have an impact that helps you reach that $1,000,000 profit. If so, then move forward but then go one step further and understand whether or not the change gets you there faster or slower. Regardless of the answer re-set your mind and keep that front and center as you continue to make decisions.
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