Super Bowl & Team Member Engagement


It’s that time of year again when even the most indifferent of sports fans will gather ’round over-sized HD flat screens with friends and family to watch something that most could care less about the outcome . . . the Super Bowl.

I find it interesting that in a time when organizations are so focused on keeping team members engaged that the Super Bowl has no problem at all engaging even the most apathetic of us.

Look around – unless you live on a deserted island I bet you have seen or heard something about the game that is being played this coming Sunday. Yet most of us are probably not die hard Denver Bronco or Carolina Panther fans, so why have we blocked off this time on our calendars for what is deemed the “ultimate must see TV?”

If you think about it, the Super Bowl has done something over the past 50 years that we can all learn something from . . . creating meaning and value where none actually existed before.

Some will say they actually enjoy the game, but it’s doubtful that over one billion people even understand the game of football, let alone how it’s won or lost.

Others will say they watch for the great commercials. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like lost puppies finding their way home, talking babies giving investment advice, or a kid dressed up like Darth Vader using the force to start his dad’s car. Yet almost all of the Super Bowl commercials have already been leaked out to the internet so I find it hard believe we would care so much about advertising that we will halt what is going on in our lives for an entire evening just to be sold something.

My belief is that the Super Bowl is about traditions and one of the most important parts of the human experience is creating and celebrating those traditions with friends, family and those we care about.

In our businesses and in our lives, creating traditions around what’s important help create meaning and value that probably didn’t exist prior. People want to live and work in a place that gives meaning and value to what they do everyday. If you haven’t created any traditions in your workplace, I would venture to say that you may have a group of disengaged team members meandering through their days uninspired and unmotivated to go the extra mile.

Study after study proves that simply paying people more money will not solve this challenge, there has to be something more. Sure people want to get paid, but that’s simply part of the basic agreement. They expect to be paid for the service they provide. Yet if there is no belief that what they accomplish everyday has any meaning or value, then that’s all they will do, perform the service and go home.

If you are finding it hard to share the meaning or the value of what your team members do every day take a lesson from the Super Bowl and simply create it yourself. Fifty years ago nobody cared much about the Super Bowl and the game wasn’t even a sell-out. Today it’s an unofficial national, and soon to be global, holiday.

So pass around the guacamole dip and let’s hope that the most engaging part of the game this Sunday isn’t the advertisements!

Ask yourself this week:

How am I creating meaning and value for myself and the people who work in my business?

What traditions have we created in our organization and how have we made them a priority for everyone?

What am I willing to commit to this week to build engagement with my team?

When is the next time we can celebrate our success?

Thoughts for the week – all sports related in honor of the Super Bowl

There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder that you do. –Derek Jeter

It’s not the will to win that matters-everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. –Paul “Bear” Bryant

I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.- Tom Landry

Make sure you worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears. –Laird Hamilton

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. –William James

One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. –Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready, and that gives me peace of mind. –Peyton Manning (Good luck and thanks for the past 20 years)

Looking forward to our next conversation

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