A Super Display of Improvisation

Posted on February 4, 2011

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Everyone knows it is Super Bowl weekend, one of the most hyped and over-analyzed sporting events of all time. As I type these words the pilgrimage and the parties are taking place in celebration of the NFL’s biggest day of the season. Even the casual/half-interested fan will be tuning in to see a play or two and the multi-million dollar commercial spots. As a matter of fact, the experts are predicting that this will be the most watched Super Bowl ever.

For that reason, I am excited for the world to see two of the best players in the NFL give a live demonstration on what all great leaders do well: improvise.

Ben Rothlisberger and Aaron Rogers are no doubt two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Their names consistently appear on the “if I was starting a team, who would you pick as your quarterback” list. The reason: they are consistently good and even better when things fall apart. Ben is big and strong, having the ability to throw the ball with bodies hanging on him, making it difficult to bring him down. This means that he can withstand pressure and impact better than most quarterbacks. Aaron is nimble with good speed and a quick release. This means when pressured, he can get out of trouble, find an open receiver and get rid of the ball before you can blink your eye.

If you don’t follow football then most of what I just said doesn’t mean anything to you. So, let me say it this way. The quarterbacks of this years Super Bowl teams are great because they can withstand pressure, make something happen when the plan breaks down and turn a potentially bad situation into something good. A big part of leading well is being able to adjust in the face of pressure or when the bottom falls out of your plan. It is not an easy thing to do. But the best can do it well.

As a leader, what is your approach to unexpected adjustments? How have you learned to approach pressure situations? What keys or tips do you have for improvising?

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