A Key Leadership Lesson from The Vikings Playoff Loss

After having a couple of days to think about the Vikings loss on Sunday to the Saints (I really wanted a Favre-Manning Super Bowl), I realized there’s a great takeaway for anyone trying to do something great:

Your Objective Defines Your Perspective

Question: When is 10 yards worse than 5 yards?
Answer: When 5 yards is what you need to win.

When things don’t go according to plan, it can be easy to lose sight of your objective.

In the final minute of the game, the Vikings had the ball in range for their kicker. However, a botched play set them back about 5 yards and outside their kicker’s range. With another play left, all the Vikings had to do was advance the ball 5 yards, kick the field goal and walk off the field as victors. The objective was a few yards.

As the final play unfolded, the opportunity was right in front of Brett Favre – he had the room to quickly run forward and pick up the needed distance. But he wasn’t looking for it. He was looking further down the field. Favre’s objective wasn’t 5 yards, it was 10.

Unfortunately, he threw an interception and the Vikings went on to lose.

When things are difficult and you’re looking for an opportunity, you have to remember your objective. Your objective defines your perspective. If your objective is off, you’ll be looking in the wrong direction. You’ll try to force opportunities in the wrong areas.

When your objective is off, you’ll miss the opportunity to advance your position or your company’s position. Don’t redefine or misdefine your objective during a setback. Take a breath, remember your objective then go out and hit it. Don’t panic.

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  • True enough Trav… I watched in horror as Favre did everything to get his team in position – even as his teammates dropped balls (were there really 5 fumbles on 3 straight possessions). And then, with victory well in his sights, he was struck blind.

    I love his competitive nature and he's a great example – but there are times when good enough is great and the shot at great is idiotic.

    • I guess the question becomes what's great in this situation? Great would have been winning the championship and going to the Super Bowl. That only required 5 yds and not 10. He didn't need to be great in that situation to accomplish a great goal. He needed to be good enough.

      Had he maintained the right objective and picked up those yards, the commentary would have been how Favre led his team – in spite of themselves – to victory and a great accomplishment. Instead, he was looking for a great play and wound up not even being good enough for the situation.

  • True enough Trav… I watched in horror as Favre did everything to get his team in position – even as his teammates dropped balls (were there really 5 fumbles on 3 straight possessions). And then, with victory well in his sights, he was struck blind.

    I love his competitive nature and he's a great example – but there are times when good enough is great and the shot at great is idiotic.

    • I guess the question becomes what's great in this situation? Great would have been winning the championship and going to the Super Bowl. That only required 5 yds and not 10. He didn't need to be great in that situation to accomplish a great goal. He needed to be good enough.

      Had he maintained the right objective and picked up those yards, the commentary would have been how Favre led his team – in spite of themselves – to victory and a great accomplishment. Instead, he was looking for a great play and wound up not even being good enough for the situation.