Bench Strength – Lessons from the NFL

We’ve all heard the old adage, “May the best team win.”  But what makes a team the “best?”

Why does one team make it to the Super Bowl while another team does not? And how does this relate to your business?

Winning teams don’t just happen.  It takes planning and commitment to create a winner.  Teams and businesses must plan for the future and the eventual changes that will occur.

A recent SHRM article noted the lessons we can learn from the NFL regarding Talent Management.

Take for example the Indianapolis Colts.  During the past 12 seasons the team averaged 11.5 wins per season.  Over the past six years the team has been to the playoffs in 11 of their past 12 seasons and been to the Super Bowl twice, winning the game in 2007.  But in 2011, the team had its worst season in 20 years with a 2-14 record. What went wrong?

As many football analysts have commented, the team had a weak defense and running game, which were characteristic of other seasons, but more importantly, the team lost its star quarterback, Peyton Manning.

Manning was a team leader and had a record of consistent production throughout his career.

Unfortunately, the Colts did not have a strong backup quarterback.  The backups didn’t even play in any of the regular season games in 2010, which meant they had no opportunity to gain “real-life” experience.

Without Manning and without a strong backup, the team collapsed.

HR POINTER: Having a strong team today doesn’t insure that you’ll have a strong team tomorrow.  Bench strength is a strategic concern for every business, and a key component to that strategy is succession planning.

Don’t focus solely on your current key performers; work on identifying and developing your future “starters.”

For an overview of the 5 stages of effective Succession Planning, view the link below:

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