This past weekend, I was watching some football with some friends and family. Truth be told, I didn’t actually watch the game. 

Allow me to break it down. 

Being involved in the innerworkings of the game of football since the age of three has created a mindset that I cannot shake. Growing up, I was always by my dad’s side. Every minute of every day. On the field. In the locker room. In the weight room. In his office watching game film. From the time I was old enough to walk, I was my dad’s shadow. Because of this, I can’t just watch a game.

Most football fans are pretty well-educated when it comes to the general rules and basic strategies of the game. When watching their team, they tend to react accordingly: an eye roll at a dropped pass, a sigh at a missed tackle, and a shout (or many) of disappointment at an interception, even high fives and pure bliss from a touchdown. The list goes on and on. And while these things are certainly a large part of the game and contribute to the outcome, what tends to be overlooked in football – and all sports for that matter – are what we call “hidden yardage.” 

Hidden yardage is the small, minute details that add up to make a significant impact. Things like penalties, mental errors, poor clock management, unexecuted plays, time of possession, etc. Coaches talk ad nauseam about these things in team meetings and on the field. So much so that every athlete understands the importance of avoiding these microscopic, critical errors. When it comes time to evaluate game film, the hidden yardage is more often than not the sole differentiator between the winning and losing teams.

Herein lies the problem: whether on the field or in the boardroom, simply talking about hidden yardage isn’t going to change anything. Action is necessary: reps, accountability, feedback, strategy, intentional development of soft skills, etc. These are the common denominators for organizations who win the workforce. 

Winning is hard enough as it is. Why not take the time to identify your hidden yardage and focus on how you’re going to get 1% better each and every day?