What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Football
There’s an article in Sports Illustrated this week (no online access for non-subscribers that I can find) that discusses how Rodney Harrison, the New England Patriot’s strong safety was voted by opposing players as the dirtiest player in the NFL. Harrison’s response:
“I’m not dirty. I’m a hard-nosed football player. I play to the whistle [meaning that he doesn’t quit while he still has a shot]. I’m not going to be your friend. I don’t want to go to parties with you. I don’t need you. But at the end of the game I’ll pat you on the butt and say, ‘good game.'”
I don’t know how much butt-patting should go on in business – my lawyer suggests that none is the correct answer – but Harrison’s take-no-prisoners view of the game is, to me, exactly how the the competitive game of business has to be played. The reason that other players think that Harrison plays dirty is because he plays hard and he never backs off – the same way successful companies are run.
You can’t put 90% of your effort into your business and expect to win. Your competition is just too good for you to give them that edge. You have to give 100% if you expect to be the victor.
I’m a huge believer in outworking the competition. In fact, I think its one of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself. Shockingly, you’ll find that much of your competition is just not willing to work as hard as you. Later in the article Harrison gives his view on this:
“You’re not going to outwork me. You may be faster, you may be bigger, you may be stronger, but you won’t outwork me. And I’m not afraid.”