Why the Best Offense is a Great Defense

Congratulations Seahawks!

You’ve all heard it before.  “Defense wins Super Bowls” and it was the Seahawks’ brilliant defense that completely overpowered the Broncos.   While the sports talking heads and fans analyze the details of the game, we, at QuestionPro (humbly headquartered in Seattle) will just relax in the afterglow of an awesome win by a team who has won its first Super Bowl.  I also think (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that no player on the Seahawks team has been to a Super Bowl – that means it’s the first ring for everyone. defense

Success Lessons from the Sidelines

  • Stop talking and start delivering.  Have you ever noticed that the “talkers” seem to get a lot of press.  Those who trash talk, who are constantly blathering about what is going to happen, while there are a few quiet doers out there.  These folks have the fortitude to not let the chatter disrupt their mission.  The Seahawks had their media quiet man “Lynch” who doesn’t say much, he just does the job.The lesson here is to decide on a simple goal and just do what it takes to achieve it.  This is the second time in about a month that I’ve heard the advice to just “keep it quiet” and stay on track.
  • Practice for performance.  In his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You Cal Newport talks about crafting a skill and practicing specific skills and techniques to perfect your performance (not to make yourself feel good).  It seems that Seahawks coach, “Carroll transformed the Seahawks into a perennial contender through his sheer force of personality, through practice days called Competition Wednesday and Turnover Thursday and No Repeat Friday that so often this season resulted in sensational Sundays.”The lesson for small business is to parse out all the areas of your key performance elements and work on them.  One way to do this is to break out your processes into customer touch points so that you can dig deeper inside the customer experience and understand what elements will really get you to stand out.  This is where small customer satisfaction survey points would come in really handy.  For example, you can link a QR code to a super short survey and get customers’ opinions just on that one element — say the cleanliness of the restrooms.
  • Brand image (almost) doesn’t matter if you deliver the goods.  OK, so I haven’t done any official research on this – and if you have an opinion, I would LOVE to hear it.  In a NY Times article about the game, they made a reference to Seahawks being these villains and “bad boys” with references to their drug-related suspensions playing against the virtuous Broncos.  But you can say whatever you like — all will be forgotten, but the results.Lesson for small business — do less talking and more delivering.  Don’t count on the previous reputation of your brand to carry you through.  AND — if your brand currently carries a “villainous” reputation — you can change that by focusing on delivering a solid performance.

In favor of a solid defense

I started this article by turning a cliche around and saying that defenses win games.  I can understand that power of innovation and creating something new as part of a great offense, but it seems that playing that game is like finding and using a needle in a haystack.  If you’ve already got the tools and resources to deliver a solid performance – then use them and remember, even if you are playing defense and you can still win at that game.

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers and the President of Third Force, a strategic marketing firm. She's the marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a frequent contributor to AMEX Open Forum.

Posted in Essay

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