The 2020 NFL draft kicked off last night. For those who didn’t watch, there were four quarterbacks drafted in the first round. As a retired NFL quarterback myself, I started thinking about how the success of this new blood will rely on the leadership of each respective team: the front office for equipping them with talented individuals around them, and the coaching staff for their individual development. I thought about how coaches – more specifically, offensive coordinators – are able to put these young, talented players into situations that allow them to leverage their talent while they are developing into true professionals.

I also began contemplating the differentiators between the good and the great. Through my contemplation, I realized that there is a significant difference between a “play caller” and someone who calls plays.

Stick with me here. 

The difference between being a sophisticated play caller vs. someone who calls plays relies on strategic adaptability, not tactical creativity. Don’t get me wrong – creativity plays a role in the offensive coordinator position, however, a great play caller understands their player’s strengths and dials them up accordingly.  

We are all, in some way, navigating uncharted waters. Some of us are encountering an economic crisis for the first time in our business careers while others have seen two or three downturns. Some of us had intimate involvement with the 9/11 attacks and the plethora of emotions that followed while others are dealing with uncertainty and an emotional toll that we have never experienced before.

During these unprecedented times, is your leadership reflecting that of a play caller or someone who calls plays? Are you staying engaged, practicing empathy, and leading with purpose? Are you adapting strategically, or have you fallen victim to just calling the next play? Are you at the forefront of communications and keeping your employees informed about the latest developments or have you taken a back seat and allowed fear and panic to creep in? 

Your employees need leadership now more than ever. They are looking to you and your leadership team for clarity, reassurance, and guidance. Take initiative and be the play caller your team needs, today and in the days to come.