Teamwork Through Communication

Quote of the Week

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

--George Bernard Shaw

“Teamwork through Communication”

As we write this, Peyton Manning is preparing to take the field in an attempt to make Superbowl history.  Over the past few weeks, much has been made about “Omaha! Omaha!” and the way Manning communicates with his teammates.  This high level of communication is not only necessary to run a complicated NFL offense, but is every bit as important to sports industry professionals in leading our organizations. 

As an avid football fan (and the son of a football coach), I’m still no expert on the nuances of running an offense.  However, I think we can all gain insights from watching an elite quarterback run his business and apply those to our daily lives.  Here are four communication skills that we can steal from Peyton Manning…..

1.     Be clear – At the line of scrimmage, Manning’s voice is discernable and forceful.  He balances the play calls with hand signals to make sure everyone is on the same page before the snap.  Even after he has called a play, he is still talking to his teammates to make sure they know where to be and what is coming next.  His message is easily understood, which limits mistakes by teammates.

2.     Be concise – Great leaders are very specific about the results they are looking to achieve.  Those that make their goals transparent and communicate those effectively to their followers are more apt to achieve success. 

3.     Be direct – There is little wasted time or energy in calling a play and getting the ball snapped.  You only have 40 seconds on the play clock, so there is little time to waste.  In our communications with our work teams, cut through the clutter and get right to the point.  Time is a valuable asset.  Cut to the chase and make the most of it.

4.     Be prompt – Communication needs to be delivered in a timely fashion for someone to utilize the information.  If someone is waiting on information to keep a project moving ahead, the chances of success diminish with each passing moment.  A great goal is to try to never have anyone waiting on you.  Get out in front of projects and stay there.

Regardless of the Superbowl’s outcome, much can be learned from the combatants.  The coaches and the quarterbacks are technically the CEOs of their teams.  The team that communicates their game plan in the most effective manner is likely to be the winner of the Lombardi Trophy.  We all have our personal goals, our own Superbowls to win.  Learn from the best, in sports and in life, put their examples to work, and hoist that trophy.