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Do you use a Cheat Sheet

On Sunday, Feb. 7th, 2021, Tom Brady took centre stage again as the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55, attempting to further solidify his reputation as the greatest QB of all time.

We could have a spirited debate about who the best football player of all time might be, in the NFL but there is no question Brady would be in the conversation, along with Peyton Manning and Joe Montana.

The game was played at 11.30pm London time and I stayed up to watch it, fascinated as to whether Brady at age 42, could take out a 7th Superbowl in 10 attempts.

That is a potential 70% success rate.

That is just outstanding.

Only the All Black rugby team surpass that with an 87% win rate.

As you know I love sport, and while I find the NFL goes way too long with ad breaks, it still holds a real fascination for me.

I mean who would think it would be so difficult to move the ball up the field 10 yards when you have 4 attempts to do it.

Rugby players and football players, do it just about every time they have the ball.

With the way, NFL defences are organised it isn’t that easy, and that’s what fascinates me about the game.

And so much rides on the QB – getting the plays right, so all the team knows what’s going to happen from the snap.

The QB really is the C.E.O. of this Business, and he (there are no female QB’s yet that I know of!!!) must have the strategy to see the pig picture, and be able to let his team know what he is seeing, and the play that he wants completed, to move his team and the opposition into a place where he wins.

Now, while all that is being written about Brady and his right hand, his throwing hand, I took note of his other hand — and, specifically, his left wrist. Have you ever noticed his left wrist?

Attached to Brady’s left wrist for every game is a cheat sheet of sorts — a play card.

What’s notable here about Brady is this point: He has had the same job for 18 years.

Think about that: 18 years, and with 2 different Franchises.

Now I find it remarkable that someone could have a job for nearly two decades and still use prompts and cheat sheets like this — and I mean that it is remarkable in a good way. What is it telling me?

That a man who probably knows the game inside out, used a Card, or cheat sheet if you like, to take pressure off himself by not having to remember multiple plays, so he frees his mind up for other important facets of the game.

It lets me know also, he understands the big picture and doesn’t leave anything to chance that the human mind could forget in the caldron that is Superbowl.

His card or cheat sheet is his strategy that all his players see. They know he is in control.

They know he will call the play that he thinks is right for that particular situation.

As a C.E.O. it would be great practice to follow Brady’s example and I imagine all the other QB’s in NFL, have the same system. It makes sense.

So, make up your own Card or Cheat Sheet and stick with it for the sake of your business.

No doubt Brady talks his plays through with his coach and offence coach to ensure he hasn’t missed an opportunity.

You as a business leader should do the same. Talk over your Business ‘play book’ with your mentor or trusted advisor.

All too often, I work with employees and leaders who have been in a job for a number of years, and they use their experience as a sword to establish their dominance. They don’t roll out the playbook.

Yet, here is a guy succeeding at one of the hardest jobs in sport, using every trick, tip and prompt he can.

Go on the internet and have a look at the playbook he wears on his left wrist. It is a bunch of hieroglyphics, and numbers, and words that make no sense to you and me.

Yet to Brady and his team, when he calls out a sequence from his wrist, all the players know what is going to happen, where they should run, and who Brady is going to throw or pass the ball to.

All this to move the ball at least 10 yards toward the in-goal and a touchdown!

Now For those of you who have held a job for more than 10 years, what do you do to stay sharp? Where is your playbook kept.

Do your staff know and understand the ‘plays’ you are going to make and are they willing to drive that 10 yards for you, before you bring out the next strategy from your playbook to move another 10 yards.

Are you transparent or vulnerable about what you do to keep that edge? What message does your behaviour have on those around you?

What ‘cheat sheet’ do you use to remember and recall what you should be doing in your Business, or during your work day.

Just Something to consider as we all work to continually improve and lead.

And for the record, at about 2.30am on Monday morning, I was tired, but I had seen Tom Brady, look at his left wrist multiple times, his cheat sheet, that he used to throw Tampa Bay Buccaneers onto the winner’s podium with a 31 -9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Just extraordinary.

If you’ve liked this post, agree with what I’m saying, or even if you disagree with me, please, like, share, or comment, invite friends to read it, share it, or even let me know the biggest takeaway from it, is for you.

If you would like a Cheat Sheet for your business, come and talk with me