March – April 2017
If you were like me and millions of others, you watched Super Bowl LI a couple of weeks ago. It was an interesting game that had a tale of two halves. Not only was this the first Super Bowl in the game’s 51 years to go into overtime, it also had the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. However, what stood out to me most about the game were the two examples I saw of how trust can impact important activities and decisions. For me, Super Bowl LI was a Super Lesson on Trust.
The Atlanta Falcons displayed how trust can be a powerful, yet fragile, asset. In the first half of the game, the Falcons were very impressive. Based on the coaches’ and players’ decisions, I could tell they trusted and believed in their game plan and each other. For the majority of the first half, the Falcons were successful in nearly every aspect of the game. More specifically, their high level of trust was exemplified during a play where the defensive back made an interception and scored a touchdown in the second quarter. The defensive back and one other teammate recognized a common behavior from the Patriots, they trusted their instincts, and their actions led to an interception and score.
The second half of the game, was a different story. As the game progressed, the confidence and trust the Falcons players had in each other and their plan faded. On defense, the coaches became much more conservative as their lead grew to 25 points. They did not trust that the aggressive approach used earlier in the game was sustainable. On offense, the Falcons did not trust they had scored enough points to win the game, so they were too aggressive for the situation. Late in the game, they could have scored less and used up more time to avoid the Patriots scoring enough points to tie the game. Instead, they attempted to score more and failed because of their aggression and lack of trust in their ability to play like they did in the first half of the game.
The New England Patriots showed me how unwavering trust can give us the confidence to overcome obstacles and achieve success. In the first half, the Patriots showed some progress, but they did not score many points. Their plan was working to an extent, but they could not score the points they needed to claim the lead in the game. Even when things looked desperate, they continued to trust their plan and methodically worked
On the sidelines, the Patriot leaders encouraged the team, and told them to trust the plan and one another. They believed they could win. They had super trust. How? Why? Because they had been through it before. They had won four other hard-fought Super Bowls. The players and coaches trusted their leaders, who reminded them to trust the plan and each other. Their trust led them to victory.
What kind of trust do you and your team have, fragile or unwavering? I challenge you to take an assessment of the trust in your environment. If trust is low, find out why and encourage those around you. Learn from this Super Lesson on Trust. Until next time: Lead with Integrity.