Andrew Luck unleashing some business advice
March 30, 2012 Leave a comment
I was just watching ESPN SportsCenter this morning (while doing some work, of course) and the feature known as (Jon) Gruden’s Camp came on. In this Exclusive Special ESPN segment, Jon Gruden, the former Super Bowl winning coach, grills college–soon to be professional–quarterbacks. While footage of the the NFL combine and individual school pro days are meant to showcase athletic ability and skill, this regular segment on ESPN is meant to give fans an idea of the information these quarterbacks are expected to digest and the mental makeup and capacity that is necessary to be successful at the professional level.
This episode’s guest: Andrew Luck, the former Stanford University Quarterback considered by most to be the #1 QB prospect of his generation. That may be true, but I’m still not convinced I’d pick Luck over Robert Griffin III, who will still probably be selected #2 but is at least now being considered a possibility at the top overall selection. My thoughts and opinions aside, though, I was very impressed with Luck’s interview with Gruden. Here were some of my takeaways:
- Although very humble, evidenced by his innocent, college-kid demeanor, Luck is a very assured and confident young man. There was no rattling him.
- Being self critical is important to success. Whether in sports, in business, or in life, being able to self-evaluate is crucial. In reviewing with Gruden one of his biggest mistakes of the 2011 season–a late interception in a tied game against Pac-12 rival USC–Luck openly and honestly admitted he could have made a better decision. The absence of any defensiveness was impressive.
- Half of life’s success, I believe, is understanding and knowing that you belong. This is hard for most of us to do, especially when we are thrust into a new situation. It was evident in the interview that, even though sitting next to one of the more intimidating of personalities, especially for young quarterbacks, Andrew Luck was comfortable in his own skin and knew he belonged.
But as impressive as all of that is, perhaps what was most indicative of his maturity was an off the cuff, innocent comment. When going over “Green Right Slot Spider 2 Y Banana,” a mouthful for sure but also one of the cornerstone plays in the Stanford offense, Gruden asked Luck about the progression, a term used to describe the hierarchy of options a quarterback is supposed to consider on any given play. Luck responded with the correct answer. ”The Fullback is the first option.” It was not the “what” answer that caught my attention, however. It was the “why.” ”Because the fullback is always open (on that play). You can’t go broke making a profit.”
You can’t go broke making a profit. It bears repeating.
A simple, yet profound message. The advice to quarterbacks: “Don’t overthink. Stick to your progression.”
The advice is the same for business managers and owners. Don’t overthink. Simplify your strategy. Plan accordingly. When things don’t work, adjust quickly. When things do work, make small incremental adjustments, minor iterative changes. Continue to innovate and improve, always looking around the corner for obstacles and opportunities. But do not overthink! Business is a lot simpler than we sometimes make it out to be. Make a great product effectively and efficiently. If it works, even if initially (or even forever; there is nothing wrong with a small, profitable business) the profits are small, continue the course, resisting the temptation to “make things really happen.”
Because, opposite the humorous maxim that even if you are losing money you can make it up with volume, you really…
..can’t go broke making a profit.