It was Saturday night; my husband was watching the ESPN recap and my attention gravitated to the TV screen to watch how Harper injured his knee. Oh my God! it hurts just to watch. I turned my back and immediately was drawn again to the TV screen after hearing Dallas Cowboys head coach and teammates’ statements about Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not a sports fan. Just happen to live in a sports fans household.
I don’t follow football but the words of the statements made my mind shift from the sports reporting world to business contingency planning. Let’s be honest, sports are a business and this specific matter was handled as a business (kudos to the Cowboys organization!). I was listening to all statements and found valuable lessons that we all can learn and apply in our businesses … about contingency planning.
Lesson 1 – Head Coach
(Photo credit: www.Dallascowboys.com)
“We suspected that something like this might happen. We prepared out team accordingly by building it the right way and we are going to focus on what we can control” (Jason Garrett, Head Coach).
Garrett’s statement teaches us that, the possible suspension of players was considered and planned for beforehand (risk assessment and planning). His statement shows us how the Dallas Cowboys aren’t running and scrambling today trying to figure out what to do. They had planned for an event like this (planning and preparedness strategies). They built a team, with enough players to cover for those that might get suspended. In short, the Dallas Cowboys organization understand that this is a business and the show must go on. So, they plan, they prepare, they have resources available waiting to be deployed. Isn’t that ideal? We all can learn from this and start building businesses and organizations prepared for events, crises, and emergencies that might arise.
Lesson 2 – Defensive Captain
(Photo credit: www.nfl.com)
“We have to be ready for this season. We have to put the work in, no matter what happens. There’s a reason why you build a team with lots of great football players and guys are ready to step up” (Sean Lee, Defensive captain).
Again, Lee’s statements teach us that resources are in place, it was all part of the plan. They built a team with a lot of great football players and they are ready to step in as needed. (Plan communication and implementation). We should do the same. Planning for contingencies is about identifying those resources that are critical for continuing operations, those key elements that we cannot operate without. But it doesn’t end there. After identifying critical elements or resources, we must find additional resources or elements and have them ready to step in, to be brought in when needed. We must also learn the importance of moving forward no matter the event that might arise. We have to be ready and put the work in no matter what happens.
Lesson 3 – Offensive Coordinator
(Photo credit: www.dallas.cowboys.com)
“We all have the confidence in the world on the guys who are going to step up, and we are just going from there. It’s going to be business as usual. We are going to miss him, but those guys have played a lot of football” (Scott Linehan, Offensive Coordinator).
This is when the rubber meets the road. Linehan’s statement teaches us that there is more than planning and talking about it. For contingency planning to be effective there’s an imperative need for action. The Dallas Cowboys organization took action (training and testing the plan). They not only selected resources and had them waiting to go when needed, they trained them as well as their starting lineup. The organization has the confidence that these resources are prepared and ready to go.
Linehan’s statement also teaches us that while the event is taking place, the show must go on (Implement, evaluate results and adapt if needed). As business owners, we must continue operations, even when sometimes it represents a response and recovery before we are operational. Which also teaches us the ability to adapt, make a decision, and move forward no matter what. There will be times when things won’t go exactly as planned, but we have to maintain the end goal in mind, which is continuity of operations.
Lesson 4: The entire Dallas Cowboys organization.
(Graphic credit: www.espn.com)
They all support their team member (at least at the time I’m writing this), but more importantly they all know what’s going to happen. Not a single player is speculating on the future of the team, the season, or the organization. They all know what’s going to happen and are confident they will overcome this event. Isn’t that a great lesson?
Plan, prepare, communicate, train and test, implement the plan, evaluate, but more importantly build confidence in the plan because they know it will work.
After reflecting on all these statements, I realized these are great lessons, we all can learn from it, and needed to be shared. Wouldn’t we all want something similar in our businesses?
When you are ready to have something similar, a solid and comprehensive contingency plan for your business; contact me, I am here to help!