In his book, Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How Watch Football By Knowing Where to Look, (Amazon Affiliate link) Pat Kirwan explains how a National Football League team constructs its gameplan each week.
Every NFL team has a playbook that’s about as thick the Manhattan phone book (Manhattan, New York, not Manhattan, Kansas). The playbook contains roughly a thousand offensive plays, and each play has variations, based formation.
So theoretically, every team has several thousand plays that could be used during a game. But not all the plays are included in the gameplan each week. Take a guess at how many plays are in the gameplan. Is it 200? 100? 75? The answer: about 40 plays.
You Are What Your Record Says You Are
How do the coaches boil the playbook down from thousands of plays to a few dozen?
The team’s coaches base the gameplan on dozens on variables: injuries to key players; weather conditions; the number of days the team has for practice; the plays that the team performs well; plays that other teams have used against the week’s opposition; whether the game is played at home or on the road; how individual players match up against the players from the other team; the ability of the players (especially the quarterback) to process information quickly while playing in the game.
During the days leading up to the game, the players practice what’s in the gameplan. The gameplan sometimes is pared down even further, based on what happens in practices.
As the week comes to an end, coaches and players must have confidence in the gameplan. If there’s uncertainty, then the chances of winning the game are reduced greatly.
And then the game is played. A team either wins or loses. The win-loss record defines teams, players, and coaches. The NFL is a results-driven game and livelihoods change, based on whether or not you win.
Can You Build Winning Gameplans?
As solopreneurs, our task is very similar to that of the football coaches: develop a winning gameplan for the challenge ahead.
There are thousands and thousands of resources at our disposal as solopreneurs. But we can’t use all of them — or half, or a third, or a quarter — to achieve our goals.
We have to make wise choices, based on the conditions we are facing, and we need to have supreme confidence in the gameplan, once it has been constructed.
Make no mistake, solopreneurship is a results-based game. Did I reach my goals for this month (did I win)? If I did, that’s great. If I didn’t, then why not? Was it the gameplan or the execution that failed? Or both? How should the gameplan be changed, going forward? Do I really know what changes I need to make?
These questions have to be asked — and answered — or else the losing will continue. (Tough questions are rarely asked after a victory, but that’s a story for another day.)