The NCAA and NFL football season is in full swing, and games this fall have provided plenty of great action, including some awesome 4th quarter comebacks. It’s fun to watch teams in the 4th quarter either try and defend a lead, or on the other side of the ball, scramble to make the right plays to win the game. And really, this is no different than what businesses are doing at this time of year.
For many, 2016 has been a good business year, and the final quarter of the year provides three months to go from good to great. For others however, the final quarter might be their last chance to turn a profit and arrive at a place where they are able to call this year a ‘win’ for their business.
So what’s in your 4th quarter playbook? Like great football coaches with the game on the line, business owners need to make good decisions when their year is on the line.
Here are some key considerations for a good 4th quarter playbook:
- Stay The Course. Many coaches in post-game press conferences talk about ‘staying the course’. In other words, if things are going well, there is no need to make drastic changes. Making small tweaks to the playbook can improve performance, but if something was successful during the first three quarters, it’s likely to provide the outcome you are looking for.
- Listen. Listening to players – and employees – can be another driver of success. Quarterbacks are often seen talking to head coaches and offensive coordinators about what they see on the field. Similarly, good businesses are constantly engaging employees for feedback.
- Finish Hard. When teams get a comfortable lead, coaches often talk about ‘putting the game out of reach’ or ‘finishing off a team’. When things are going well, that is not the time to put it on auto-pilot and expect to cruise through the 4th quarter. When things are going well it’s a great time to capitalize on the moment and take the score – and sales for a business – to a point where the competition can’t catch you.
- Play to win. If 2016 hasn’t been the year you were expecting, there is one quarter left to make it a win. Start the 4th quarter with the energy and strategy needed to change the course of the year. Just like some of the great football games that we have seen over the past month, if you work hard at every opportunity, things can change for the better very quickly.The best coaches and the most successful business owners have a great playbook, and one that has gotten them through the first three quarters and positions them well for the final stretch. Good luck in the 4th quarter of 2016!