Lessons from the NFL

By John Burwell, Service and Sales Coach

There are many things in life that can teach us valuable lessons. One of these lessons hit me last Thursday night in the NFL game featuring the San Diego Chargers vs. the Denver Broncos. There are many lessons from that game that are parallel with our technicians regarding leadership and training. I will admit that I am a big Chargers fan. I have been one since my family moved to San Diego when I was 1 month old, but the lesson here is valid no matter whom your team is because this is about business.

As most of you have heard by now, San Diego won the game and it was deemed an upset. Ok, I will quit gloating; they are barely hanging on for a spot in the playoffs and none of that affects our businesses.

So what is the lesson from the NFL? We know that part of what makes up the NFL is that it is the highest professional level of that particular sport. It is a business as a whole and it’s also made up of individual businesses (teams) that make up the league.

In our own situations, our company is the whole and our service techs running our service trucks are a part of it. I was curious to see how the Chargers would respond when reports started to state they were about out of the playoff picture because their record was only 4-6. Then they responded by developing a solid tight game plan, focused on the specific things they needed to do, and ultimately beat one of the best football teams in the league this year on national television.

How does this relate to us? We have goals for each truck and the revenue necessary from those trucks in order for each one to be its own profit center. If a truck misses goal on Monday and again on Tuesday there are still three more days for that truck to make up ground and hit goal. The challenge lies in the mindset of a technician that has given up already and is saying to him or herself, “What’s the point? The week is over anyway.” Is that the mindset our customers deserve? Of course not! Our customers deserve our best all the time!

Do you think the Chargers listened to the reports and decided that their fans deserved less of an experience from them? Absolutely not, they showed up with each teammate playing his individual part as well as a team, and ultimately won that game. The point here is they have continued to perform at a professional level when they could have easily given up. They are showing that they are playing for their own pride, the team’s pride, and for their fans (customers).

When we give up early in the week we are not only giving up on ourselves, but we are also giving up on our customers and the level of service they deserve (and we charge for). So if early in the week we haven’t hit goal, staying engaged increases our chances of winning by the end of the week. I don’t know how many times I have witnessed my own techs showing this mindset, but it’s too many. Once I identify the behavior, I have a coaching session or doing a ride along with them and the next day they hit goal. It seems to happen almost every time!

Don’t give up on your techs and don’t allow them to give up on their daily results either. Help them get unstuck when necessary and watch the improved results flow.


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