Thoughts on Leadership: The Logic of Preseason

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Irvine to meet with our talented franchise sales directors for a three-day conference held at HSF Affiliates LLC headquarters. As the meeting progressed, one thing became clear: Our sales team is among the finest in real estate and each director works tirelessly to find ideal franchisee candidates within an assigned sphere. They’re skillful players on a team positioned to win big this year in key markets across the country—and in time, around the globe.

So, if these women and men are so fantastic at what they do, why, you might ask, hold a three-day meeting at all? My answer to that question can best be explained by the logic behind the National Football League preseason, which happened to coincide with our sales team gathering.

Preseason takes place in August and early September and finds NFL teams competing against each other during a handful of not-for-the-record exhibition games prior to the start of the regular football season; it’s a time when stakes are low and players can rid any rust from the offseason.  Here’s what Mike McCarthy, head coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said about it:

“Preseason football is hard to evaluate. It’s never going to be clean for the quarterbacks. You have to overcome the ugly plays and be productive. It’s a component of leadership that is necessary. The guys that make it in the league survive that.”

In essence, preseason football is akin to a dress rehearsal before the big show, just as our sales meeting served as a time when our team could speak openly in a low-pressure environment as we gear up for 2016 and beyond. This presented a unique opportunity to analyze, assess and create a consistent playbook for our sales strategy going forward … free from the stress of prospective or unfinished deals. In three days, our franchise sales directors had precious off-the-record time to realign systems and processes so they could return to the field with a renewed sense of confidence in their ability to achieve.

So what’s the message? Every team—no matter how successful—must take a step back from time to time and evaluate performance; there are always challenges to be overcome and gaps to be filled on the road of productivity and success. Never underestimate the power of assessment and never rest on your laurels. Because, as NFL preseason has taught us, sometimes even the greatest Super Bowl champions need a little practice.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on Facebook and Twitter.



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