I often get these ideas when I have some time to reflect. This one occurred when I was watching the Green Bay Packers play. I know that there are people out there that think that sports and business don’t really go hand in hand, but I do, so deal with it. (Smile)

Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game and his style is arguably poetry in motion. If you watch football, or even State Farm commercials, his story is well documented, so I will spare you the details. The reason for this reference is because of a football term called “the scramble drill.” For those of you who are not familiar with this drill, simply put, it is what happens when the structured play called in the huddle breaks down and the team is forced to improvise and make something happen. Here is where it gets interesting. Too often teams use statements like, “just make a play,” “be creative,” or “figure it out.” This approach is only half of the equation. The good ones, when they do have to “make a play,” know how to do it. They rely on their training and development and when they face that particular situation they are comfortable and confident. It’s what the great teams do. It’s what Aaron Rodgers & the Packers do.

When the play breaks down for the Packers, things start getting good. Under his leadership as the quarterback, the Green Bay Packers are the most efficient team when things don’t go as planned. That doesn’t mean that they just go out and wing it. All this means is that when (and I say when because in sports and life things very rarely go perfectly) this happens, they don’t skip a beat!

When the scramble drill is practiced, it is typically practiced in a setting where it’s not given full attention. In fact, this drill is usually practiced during a walk through – or, and most often, it’s done in a reactive manner when things have gone wrong and coaches say, “we need to get better at this.” How are you supposed to get better if you never actually intentionally practice something at the pace you will be executing it? And then when you do practice, it’s done in a check-the-box format – like “hey, we covered this, let’s move on.”

This is important because a team that can thrive amidst chaos while being able to execute the game plan will always be competitive and have a chance to win games. What this does is take pressure off of everyone from having to be perfect. Everyone on the team is confident that when things go awry they will be handled accordingly because the right people are in place that will do the right things.

Let’s make the comparison to business. Too often I see leadership in business checking boxes saying, “we covered that.” They don’t want to spend the time to work on their “scramble drill” or, in this case, develop their people. What we constantly see is this generational divide. They want results but misunderstand how to accomplish them in the 21st century, so they get frustrated. I’m referring to circumstances when managers and executives don’t get the results they want and become reactive and say things like, ”we talked about that,” “we went over that,” “I sent them an email regarding that situation,” and/or “these kids are lazy.”

It would be great if things always worked out the way we planned, but that is just not realistic. Things break down and when they do, you need to be prepared to execute at a high level. In my opinion, checking boxes will never solve that problem. We are so much more evolved than that. I mean, we have cars that can literally park themselves but we are still attempting to develop our employees in one-hour training seminars during their lunch break? C’mon! That makes no sense!

The point is — there is no magic pill when it comes to developing leadership in your organization and like the scramble drill, when you are forced to execute a crucial play, you can only rely on what you have done to prepare for that situation. If you haven’t taken the intentional approach to preparing, don’t expect the results that are only reserved for those who do.

At Solutions 21, we have taken our expertise in 21st-century leadership and developed a worldwide proactive approach in preparing emerging leaders to handle situations that are not covered in the world of academia. Our Next Leader Now program is the future of development for the 21st-century worker. In this evolving workforce where businesses are constantly competing for market share and talent, the room for error is very slim. So when things break down and the scramble drill is in effect, do you want your emerging leaders to execute like Aaron Rogers and the Packers or like the other teams that can only hope for the best? Our Next Leader Now program intentionally prepares your emerging leaders to “make the play” when called upon.

Interested in learning more on this subject matter? Click here to check out more information on the 2015 Leadership Summit presented by Solutions 21 and register to attend our event!