“Gentlemen, this is a football!”

Most don't know the real history of this historic football quote or how to apply it to their businesses and lives.
Football on field

“Gentlemen, this is a football!” That is one of the most famous and often used sports quotes in history. However, most don’t know its real history or how to apply it to their businesses and lives.

In July 1961, Vince Lombardi kicked off the first day of training camp for the 38 players on his Green Bay Packers football team. The prior season had ended in a heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles after blowing a lead in the 4th quarter of the NFL Championship Game.

When the players came in to start training camp, they expected to immediately begin where they left off and work on ways to advance their game and learn fancy new ways to win the championship in the new season. When they sat down and began, Vince Lombardi held up a football and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football!”

He then had everyone open up their playbooks and start on page one, where they began to learn the fundamentals – blocking, tackling, throwing, catching, etc. That was clearly not what they expected as players who were at the top of their game.

This hyper-focus on fundamentals allowed them to win the NFL Championship that season 37-0 against the New York Giants. Vince Lombardi went on to win five NFL Championships in seven years. He never coached a team with a losing season after that and never lost a playoff game again.

If focusing on fundamentals can elevate a great team to such heights, imagine what it can do for your business and life. We are often putting time, energy, and money into looking for the next magic bullet, quick fix, or business trick. Instead, we should focus on the fundamentals.

One of the greatest mistakes business owners and leaders make is NOT focusing on the fundamentals. They often don’t even realize what their business fundamentals are and frequently don’t stay up to date on the changes needed to keep up with those around them – clients, prospects, employees, candidates, and others.

If we have not identified the fundamentals – we cannot work on continual improvement of them!

“Magic tricks” mean nothing if the people who answer the phone don’t do well. Special “closing techniques” do no good without being able to leave a voicemail that gets returned. Having the best product or service is pointless if we don’t follow up with people who inquire. Finding the best place to post jobs does no good if we don’t learn how to interview candidates for the right things. Giving new employees great gifts on day one when they start doesn’t do any good if we cannot hire the best people.

The most successful people you can think of in sports, music, acting, and other areas never stop working on the fundamentals. However, in business, we seem to think we already have it down. Seldom is that the case! Like Vince Lombardi and his team, we need hyper-focus on the fundamentals to make us more successful and get to the next level.

So, let me ask – how much time, energy, and money have you wasted looking for some magic fix that didn’t exist? Do you know the 5-10 most critical fundamentals your team and you need to succeed in your business? How much could focusing on them benefit your team, your business, and you? If you don’t know or don’t like the answers – find a business growth consultant who can help.

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About Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Author focused on the Subconscious Psychology of Human Interaction and Motivation. His firm specializes in Sales, Management, and Leadership Development for Proactive Business Growth. Mike is based in Oklahoma and serves Visionary Clients across the United States. He can be reached at Mike.Crandall@Sandler.com or at (405) 844-1700.