Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Lesson From Bill Walsh on Blocking And Tackling In Your Business

In the late 1980s as a young sports reporter, I was in Kansas City covering a Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers game. The 49ers had just defeated the Chiefs on their way to a third Super Bowl Championship in seven years. In those days, the 49ers ruled the league.
I was with a mob of other reporters after the game asking questions of the late 49er head coach, Bill Walsh. One reporter asked him a question about the West Coast offense, an offensive system Walsh helped create and the 49ers utilized at the time. "With this system, you can pretty much plug any player in and win?" Walsh shot back angrily. "Wait a second. We're not winning because of our offensive system. We're winning because we're blocking and tackling better than our opponents. If we block and tackle better, it doesn't matter what system we use."
I think the same can be said for business. In business, blocking and tackling means: 1. Knowing your numbers (inside and out); 2. Hiring A Players; and 3. Serving your customers like no other business could.; and 4. Having a plan for exactly where you are going. That's blocking and tackling.
I thought about all of this a few weeks ago when a social media expert (they seem to be multiplying) told a group of business owners that "if they weren't a part of social media, their businesses would die." Unfortunately, I've seen some businesses spend a lot of money and time with social networking. I don't see that as a problem necessarily (there are a lot of advantages). However, just as the West Coast offense didn't help the 49ers win three Super Bowls, social media won't help your company succeed. A focus on blocking and tackling will help you succeed.
First and foremost, spend time and resources on blocking and tackling. If you don't, social media won't help you at all. This is what the so-called "social media guru" should have told you.
--Ron Ameln, SBM


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