Be Careful of Epic Victories

Last year, the Detroit Lions broke an NFL record.  Of their 9 wins, 8 were fourth quarter comebacks.

They just kept making epic comebacks an delivering in the clutch.

Much praise was (rightly) heaped on the team, and QB Matt Stafford.  No matter the spot, Stafford worked magic and pulled a win out of the hat.  His skill delivered.

It was fun to watch as a fan, but it also revealed a major flaw.  You don’t win Super Bowls (or even playoff games) with magic fixes.  You win them by being the kind of team that doesn’t need magic…at least not every week.

Building a business is like this.  The problem with all-nighters and trench warfare to pull victory from the jaws of defeat is that it doesn’t produce consistency or scale.  The real growth curve starts when you can turn magic into a system.

The book, “The E-Myth” is sort of a classic blueprint for how a small business can turn into an empire by taking what they do best – and what the founders and leaders do best – and turning it into a system.

It’s the Bill Belichikification of business.

If you don’t know anything about coach Belichick and his New England Patriots, you’ve been sleeping under a rock and need to wake up.  They are a winning machine.  Sure, they get great play out of amazing players like Tom Brady, and they enjoy a little magic once in a while.  They’ve also lost two Super Bowls at the hands of pure, unsystematic magic.

Then again, they’ve been seven times and won five of them in a decade and a half.  An unprecedented feat in a sport with massive incentives to keep teams equal.

They have less raw talent and fewer high draft picks on their roster than anyone.  But it doesn’t matter.  They don’t need magic talent or magic plays.  They have a system that has turned magic into a repeatable, scalable process.

It feels good to get a big win.  When you jump on the field of battle and slay the dragon with great aplomb everybody feels great.  Every so often, it’s needed.  But what kind of Kingdom is so situated as to face dragons only the great Knights can defeat every single day, week, or month?

Turning an all-star, magical performer into a system is the real alchemy.

At Praxis, our team is amazing.  They perform unreal feats daily, and overdeliver in the clutch for customers and business partners all the time.  That’s a constant source of excitement and concern for me.  I want them to win, but I don’t want company success dependent on individual magic.  I want magic baked into the very bones of the place.

When you perform magic for the win, take a minute to enjoy.  Then step back and ask what made it possible, and how you could achieve the same results, or even avoid the necessity for magical intervention, by building a system that embodies those traits day in day out without even thinking about it.

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