By: James Babb, partner and Clients and Industries leader at Deloitte, Middle East.

Another American football season is upon us. Already we have seen some historical results from the first weekend of college with Howard University, (a 45 point underdog) defeating the University of Nevada Las Vegas 43-40. And the UCLA Bruins coming back from a 34 point deficit to start the 4th quarter and defeat the Texas A&M Aggies 45-44 in the closing seconds – both jaw dropping outcomes in their own rights. It’s proven once again that failing to prepare is preparing to fail and resting on a lead can lead you to defeat. For me this season is particularly special as it is my Son’s first high school season. He is playing Quarterback on offense and Defensive End on defense – a combination not usually seen, but it’s a testament to his versatility. Did I mention that he is the punter as well? It has been some time since I have seen a high school football playbook and I was amazed that he had memorized 54 “pistol spread” offensive plays with 3 to 4 variations depending on the reaction of the defense on any given play. As a quarterback he has to make a split second read of the defense and react accordingly to decide on the right course of action. One wrong decision, one second of hesitation and he could find himself flat on his back SACKED by a defender with his team having lost ground. That’s a lot of pressure for a 14 year old to handle, but I love that he seeks it and is improving each week. It got me thinking – How many companies out there would perform so much better if their strategic plan (playbook) was better communicated throughout their organization and actually understood by their employees (players) ? I have had countless conversations with executives from various organizations over the years and am always taken aback by how many lack an ability to even basically articulate their organizations strategy and/or how their role or function is actually aligned to that strategy. In such a rapidly changing business environment where speed of decision making and action is paramount to successfully competing, how many are getting sacked on a daily basis in their markets and not even realizing it because the players are so ignorant of their own playbook! The giant killer Howard Universities and the agile resilient UCLA Bruins of the business world must be salivating…

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