In the United States, the NFL season is upon us, or not. I hope the owners and players come to a settlement, but that is not what I want to share today.
In preparation for the upcoming NFL season, the league held its rookie seminar to welcome the newest players into the league, a fantastic ritual to incorporate into any organization. At this year’s session (and apparently others), ex-NFL player and coach,, Herm Edwards addressed the players. The video is linked above. Herm Edwards happened to play for my hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles. While I recognize, I might be biased in my appreciation for him, he hits the nail on the head with this excerpted speech above. I hope the NFL / ESPN posts more of this comments.
Paraphrasing…”You were born with talent. You didn’t learn it. You didn’t go to the store to get it. It was given to you.” Very true words, in my humble opinion. While I am big believer in effort, and hard work, talent is hard to overcome, particularly at the NFL level of sports. Don’t misunderstand me, effort can make up for some lack of talent. I personally believe the harder you work, the luckier you get. However, this is not the point of this discussion.
Herm hits the nail on the head by differentiating talent from production. In the NFL, this is very apparent. There are many players who were drafted in the first round including even Heisman trophy winners who never lived up to their talent. They failed to produce. In the business world, you might say “they didn’t deliver” or “they failed to execute.”
Inspired by Herm’s comments towards the end of this video, don’t let your talent under-perform. If you consider yourself talented, make sure that you are delivering results. No one ever wants these things to happen, and as leaders it your challenge to make sure this doesn’t happen. At the same time, on the flip side, don’t let talent replace performance. Talent is important. We all want to surround ourselves with talented people, but managing a highly talented team, leading them to victory takes a different leadership style than managing a team with minimal talent.
Finally, as an individual, if you find yourself “basking in the glow” of your talent, but cannot explain your results, check yourself. As a leader of teams, hire for talent and pay for results. And remember, “you play to win the game”.