From the HB Blog.
By now, everything is back to normal for the NFL fan. The full-time refs returned for their first full weekend of the season. No longer will nationwide media outlets waste valuable time with nonsensical referee talk.
Despite some egregious errors by the so-called replacement refs (most notably the game-ending play in Seattle), we can learn a lot from their three weeks of sub-par refereeing – and none of it has to do with financial negotiations or football strategy.
It’s all about looking in the mirror.
The blame game
Following last weekend’s overly criticized calls in the Patriots vs. Ravens andPackers vs. Seahawks games, dozens of players took to the media and Twitter to complain about the outcome of the game. Most notably, Packers offensive lineman TJ Lang tweeted the following (forgive the language):
Got fucked by the refs.. Embarrassing. Thanks nfl
— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) September 25, 2012
The New York Daily News compiled many other Packers players who echoed similar sentiment.
Guess what? The referees had no impact on the outcome of the game – only the players on the field.
In times of chaos, a first reaction may be to blame outside factors. The real determining factor is the only thing you can control – yourself. Kudos toPackers coach Mike McCarthy who took the high road after the game and stressed all things the Packers could have done earlier in the game to avoid such an outcome.
“The offense didn’t do our part in the first half. I should have adjusted plans earlier… We were wearing that defense down… We need to move on. It’s important for us to get back and get ready for the Saints.”
Before investing time in determining why external factors may have changed an outcome, first ask, “what could I have done differently?” You don’t have to be in sports to do this.
Self-questioning in practice
Professional situations often don’t run smoothly. Perhaps a contact is unreachable, or a partner misses a deadline, or a marketing effort falls short of a financial goal.
Guess what? Many of those reasons start with you.
In hindsight, you can always do things differently. I’d argue that you could always do things better. At HB, we make a practice of discussing projects after they’ve launched, mailed, or delivered. Even if it’s informal, a candid talk about past work goes a long way to making future endeavors more successful. Such a talk also makes for happier clients. Some typical questions from our discussions:
- Did we listen to our client?
- Did we reference the creative brief and project goals at every step?
- Did we stop to consider alternate solutions to a problem?
- How could we have completed our project more efficiently?
- Did the project succeed? Could it have succeeded at a higher rate?
It helps to ask these questions of your client as well, but the first questions are from us, to us.
The referee problems may have disappeared… but players will always make mistakes on the field and in the marketing arena. Questioning our actions will consistently provide improvements to our own strategies and tactics.
In fact, it’s time for me to question this blog post – how could I have written better?