Today, I heard a few minutes of a press conference with Doug Pederson, the coach of the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles.
Reporters were interested in noisy newsy stuff. His answer to almost every question was something like “I have no comment about yesterday, my goal for today is to focus on how this team can get better today”. He answered six or seven questions with some variety of that before the national news cut away, typical of its short attention span.
I liked the idea. “Yesterday is gone. My goal for today is to focus on getting better today.” That’s a good way to think.
Let’s take that apart.
- I have a goal which is the outcome when all my daily efforts are added up.
- I need to know the things I can do that will make a difference.
- I must do difference makers every day.
- One difference maker is to plan and execute the right sequence. That’s what a leader, like a football coach does.
I have a number of touchpoints that I recommend to my coaching clients which reflect Pederson’s comments.
I ask my clients to spend time during the first day of the year, and the month and the week planning goals and strategies and tactics (difference makers).
Life generally is pretty good for most people so it’s actually hard to set big goals like winning the Super Bowl.
Individually, people have to work extra hard to plan to reach their goals. They need to spend time thinking about what more they’d like to have, and how they are going to get it. Meeting with yourself (and maybe a coach) regularly to think about plans and the difference makers is necessary.
I ask my clients to focus on tomorrow at the end of today so that they know what they want to accomplish the next day. It was obvious from Pederson’s comments that he had a daily plan for how he wanted the team to grow their skills. And that was paramount for him.
If they have an assistant, I ask my clients to meet with them first thing in the day and right after lunch in order to get them focused on what is most important for them to do. Getting focused on what’s most important saves time and leads to productivity.
The next thing I ask my clients to focus on is spend some time everyday occupied with activities that are important but not urgent. The fact is that most activities are one of a) important and urgent, b) not important (to you) but urgent (for someone else) or c) not important and not urgent (like watching TV).
Discovering important but not urgent activities and doing them is a difference maker.
For example, I have a client who is very busy with a variety of difficult tasks that he has become competent at. Almost all are important and urgent. He has the skills and motivation to do them.
After a long difficult discussion, we discovered he wasn’t going to reach his personal peak goals without marketing himself but that was hard for him because it wasn’t urgent daily. The difference maker for him was the important but not urgent task of scheduling marketing activities. Doing them is easy once scheduled. Scheduling is hard.
Now he’s challenged himself to do that every day. We’ll see what happens.
So Doug Pederson is a winner because he has the Eagles doing the best line-up of difference makers every day. And he’s motivated and disciplined to focus every day. That’s a trait that comes from inside. You can do that.