Leaders Are Either Inspiring or Sabotaging Confidence & Expected Success!

I have to chime in here about the decision made by the leadership of the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday in their game against the New York Jets.

The Colts, with a 14-0 record and a chance for an undefeated season on the line had the home field advantage through the entire playoffs up to the Super Bowl already clinched for the upcoming post season. They were playing a team, the Jets, needing a win to keep their playoff chances alive and knock some of their competitors out of playoff contention.

With a 5-point lead and 17-minutes remaining on the game clock the Colts leadership decided to take their best players out of the game to save them from potential injury to be healthy for the upcoming post season coming up in three weeks. The Colts second string players were dominated by the Jets first stringers and the team lost for the first time in 24 regular season games, ruining their chance for a perfect regular season.

Their star quarterback, Peyton Manning, remained on the sidelines with his football helmet on and the chin strap snapped as if he were going in to the game at any moment, but the call never came.

I believe this was a poor decision on behalf of the Colts leadership. Athletes are paid to win. They show up and take the field expecting to win. Teams win by putting their best players on the field until victory is virtually certain.

In facilitating a management team’s meeting yesterday at which we crafted a “team agreement” as to how they were going to interact with each other and show up to work, one of the team members suggested that first and foremost on their list of agreed upon behaviors was “expect success.”

If leaders and teams are to be successful they must show up expecting to be successful. Expecting success changes the outlook of everyone on the team. Leaders have to expect success and their job is to ensure the best players (employees) are on the team to allow the team to be successful.

As soon as the personnel change was made by the Colts in the third quarter of the game on Sunday, the entire team and fans in the stadium stopped expecting success, and as such, they didn’t get it.

If you’re a leader, expect success; communicate and act “as if” you expect success and your team members will show up the same way.

It’s the only way to play the game

Happy New Year!