Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos

Last night, the Denver Broncos were defeated in spectacular fashion by the Seattle Seahawks at Superbowl XLVIII. So what does Peyton Manning, the Broncos Quarterback, do now?

Peyton Manning had the sort of season any person would dream of. He led his Broncos teammates to a record-setting high-scoring season built on a relentless offence. He was voted Most Valuable Player in the league for the 5th time. And as a previous Superbowl champion, he had the experience on his side to lead his side to victory.

But once the game started, the Seahawks nullified him to such an extent that he just couldn’t perform at his level. Seattle’s game all season has been based on a strong defense, and their relentless pressure in the final game prevented Denver being able to perform in the way they were used to.

The final score ended up with the defensive specialist Seahawks defeating the offensive powerhouse Broncos 43 – 8.

There are a lot of parallels here to the world of business. Every now and then, even the most high-performance teams and individuals will hit a period where their performance slips. Sometimes the slip is catastrophic and unexpected, and there are many reasons why this might happen, including emotional, personal or external influences.

The importance though is to determine whether or not your teams are still performing to the best of their abilities. Often, there are situations like the Superbowl where there can be only one winner, such as winning a new account at the expense of competitors. But in business, it is having a team that is consistently performing at a high level which leads to long term success.

Wins in business are ultimately short-term. Consistent high-performance by teams is what develops innovations consistently over time to grow the business.

Even high-performance teams can suffer losses when they’re performing at a high level against competition. This is what makes sports so exciting. The secret though is to keep hold of your high performers, since over the long run, higher performance than your competitors is what helps you develop innovations and grow the company.

And if your individuals and teams don’t perform to the level you know they’re capable of, you effectively have three choices to make:

  1. Punish them by letting them go: Sometimes known as theĀ “up or out” school of management, this can install a culture of individualism in performance, which works in the short term but actually hinders innovation
  2. Support them to get their performance to previous levels: If someone has just experienced a loss or is in a ‘slump’, you need to consider what it is going to take to get them back performing at their personal peak levels. For some people it will be encouragement, for others time away, for others space or support. This will vary by person
  3. How do you enhance their performance: Like any sportsperson, people and teams need training to enhance their performance beyond their personal peak levels. This is why it’s vital for companies to actually invest in staff development throughout their career.

What did you think of the Superbowl performance? Will Manning ever be able to reach his previous performance levels? Let us know in the comments below.

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