Not sure if you heard or not but the Super Bowl is this coming Sunday. Just felt it my duty to remind you all of that in case you were, say, on another planet the last week or so.
Unlike any event in the entire world, the Super Bowl is of course the culmination and coronation of another NFL season and crowning of a new champion, respectfully. Being a Philadelphia Eagles fan I am not familiar of course with what winning a Super Bowl actually feels like.
Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Greatest Combination In NFL History
Over the past 12 months I have had the pleasure and honor in speaking with the quarterback and wide receiver who compromise the greatest QB/WR combination in the history of the NFL: Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
Each man has gone to successful careers in the business world and as such I wanted to pick their brains as to how they’ve applied what they learned on the gridiron to their lives off it.
Today, I want to share some excerpts from each and illustrate why marketers need to listen to a Super Bowl winning quarterback and wide receiver.
First up Joe Montana followed by Jerry Rice.
Steve Olenski: How would you say being an NFL QB is like running a company?
Joe Montana: You are in charge of a group of diverse talented people attempting to get them to play, execute and win at whatever that business is. For example, getting people to believe in each other and trust in each, knowing mistakes will be made, yet helping people thru those mistakes instead of pointing fingers. I used to say when people would ask me ‘What do you say out on the field when someone makes a mistake?’
Well, I tried to find out what happened, why it happened and how can I help them not to repeat the same mistake. I would say… ‘we all are going to get yelled at when we get to the sideline so let’s work together and stay together.’ Believe and help each other cause we will all have our turns at making mistakes. We can’t get better by pointing a finger.
Olenski: How a company/brand handles a crisis is very telling. You faced many crisis in many games during your career. How were you able to seemingly stay so cool in the heat of the moment and what advice would you give to a CEO/CMO etc. as to how to best handle a crisis?
Montana: Staying cool is just a phrase. What really happens is you tend to concentrate and focus more in crisis situations. What I was taught by Bill Walsh was the crisis may not always be as bad as you believe. Hail Mary fixes are not always the answer. Take a look at your business fundamentals. They have probably slipped and going backwards to get back on track may be your best decision. It was in our case in many games where we came back from behind simply by going back and running our offense from the base plays we put in day one.
Steve Olenski: What are some of the lessons you learned playing football that you applied to life after the game re: the business world?
Jerry Rice: I apply so many of the same principles from football to the business world every day. Some of the most important things are the values of professionalism, being on time, teamwork and work ethic.
Olenski: How can those same lessons be applied to CMOs, CEOs, etc; the people in charge of running brands both large and small?
Rice: It starts at the top. You have to set the example and outline expectations. At the 49ers, we had that with our owner – Eddie DeBartolo – whom I consider the greatest owner in professional sports. He set the standard, but he made sure to hire the best people and let them do their jobs. He treated the stars on the team the same way he treated the ball boy. These same principals apply throughout business. The keys to success, in whatever role you have are the same. Be professional, dress to impress, show up early, stay late and respect the members of your team regardless of their role. Everyone is working towards the same goal, so each person’s contribution is important to succeed.