Is it time for a “trade” in the off season?


Working with leaders and their teams, we often discover during “game time” that the team is not performing up to it’s optimum. Generally, stress and emotions are running high during times of peak performance which allows inefficiency and character flaws to rise to the top. With these challenges, most realize that significant changes need to be made; however, are frustrated as they realize during the middle of the game isn’t the best time to bring in a player.

Let’s use football as an analogy. In years past, the team as been fairly successful; however, this season you have recognized that the offensive line is having a breakdown. QB sacks are now at a record high. You’ve managed to win some games; however, you know you have issues that must be addressed. During the game, via the huddle, coaching on the sideline, and halftime, you’re able to make minor tweaks in the strategy. However, you must be operating in a mindset that “my team is on the field”. This isn’t a time to consider major changes in players on the team.

Then, in practice throughout the week, you continue to coach your players. You even may reposition some folks on the team. Let’s say that the center is the primary issue as he’s the one doing play calling for the offensive line and simply making some bad decisions. Week to week, you may move the center to guard and try out another person at center. Again, however, you’re likely not going to make major player changes “in season” and must continue to operate in the mindset of “this is my team”.

Now, in the off season, what do we see in the world of sports? There is a high percentage of trades and shifting around with the team in effort to optimize performance. Using the NFL as an example, the average career of an NFL player is 3-6 years depending on which source you reference. During these careers, it’s not uncommon to see at least one if not multiple trades to other teams. Again, this all happens during the off season and not right in the middle of the game.

I anticipate you can draw some parallels in this sport team analogy and leading your teams. I also anticipate with the holiday season among us, most teams are in an off season versus game time. Whether true or not, most do have an off season at some point during the year which today’s post applies.

So, is it time to make a “trade”? Unfortunately, what some are characterized by doing is justifying player performance in the off season and hesitating to make a change. The leader may have some open discussions with his players about their performance as well as make some discovery of things happening outside the game that were impacting player performance. After these discussions, the leaders decides to keep the player on his team. Then, what do you anticipate happens next season? Well, more often than not, the leader ends up in remorse and even more frustrated during game time that he/she didn’t make the “trade” last year.

I almost guarantee that as I tell this story someone is coming to mind on your team or you can relate as you’ve had this experience in the not too distant future. As the leader, it’s tough to make these decisions as you’re impacting peoples lives as well as their families. Making matter worse, you really don’t have a whole lot of non-biases people you can turn to discuss “trading” a player. This is where we come in with our team alignment process, advisory boards, and one-on-one coaching. We act as the 3rd party sounding board who will aid in your decision making and holding you accountable for making the changes that your team needs for optimum performance next season. Would you like to talk?

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