Champion Leadership Tip #14 – Take Calculated Risks & Believe In Your Preparation

Two key leadership traits led to Sunday’s Super Bowl Championship by the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Sean Payton had his team extremely well prepared (The fifth characteristic in my C.H.A.M.P. Leadership model is “Preparation”) to neutralize the outstanding talents of the Indianapolis Colts offense and defense.

But being well prepared was only part of what led to the Saints success. As a leader, coach Sean Payton knew there is another component.

Payton believed in his preparation and the readiness of his team to compete at the highest level. Payton used that belief to take calculated risks during the game and made decisions that led to his New Orleans Saints becoming a Champion Organiztaion.

With his team’s offense facing a 4th down and goal from the one yard line with his team down by a score of 10-3 in the second quarter, Payton decided to have his offensive unit try for a 7-point touchdown, instead of taking the safe 3-point field goal from close range.

The play failed turning the ball over to the Colts. However, the gutsy call showed confidence in his team and as the TV sports commentator, former Super Bowl MVP Phil Simm, said, “Payton showed his players that he’s in it to win it.”

But the play that told me the Saints were going to become Super Bowl Champions was the on-side kick call that launched the game’s second-half. An unsuccessful attempt on that play would have given the Colts the ball deep in New Orleans territory and a huge opportunity to easily add to their four point lead.

The Saints recovered the ball and went on to score a touchdown and take the lead. Despite givng up the lead later in the third quarter, the Saints confidence never wavered.

I believe those two key decisions turned the New Orleans Saints into a Champion Organization.

As a leader are you able to make calculated decisions? How can you better prepare yourself and your team to set the organization up for success? What do you need to do to be confident in making calculated risks to reach the next level?

I’d like to hear success stories out there. How have you as a leader taken calculated risks that worked or didn’t and what did you learn from those experiences that made you a better leader in the long run?