Sports and sales analogies are everywhere, aren’t they?

As I ponder a recent Green Bay Packer football team’s loss, I see why. Teamwork is very transparent in many sports teams making sporting events ripe with lessons we can apply in business.

Recently our beloved quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and his receivers missed so many passing connections they lost the game. Commentators and fans observed his dropped confidence in throwing the ball to someone who would actually catch it. When his confidence dropped, so did the team’s success rate.

Do you notice that within your team? When people within the team hold on to projects, activities, and information instead of passing it off, your success drops. This dynamic plays out in sales, marketing, project work, customer relations, and operations.


When a person or team does not confidently believe the next in line will do what they are supposed to in a timely, complete manner, or sometimes in the way they believe it should be done, progress stalls.

There are many reasons for this pattern of behavior. Sometimes:

  • It’s in your culture – the CYA culture.
  • It’s rooted in whether the team respects and trusts their direct manager.
  • It’s based on past experiences with a specific person or department.
  • It’s a legacy, not based in today’s reality, but in “war stories.”

Here’s how I hear it played out: The sales reps need to prospect more. It’s decided that one way to free up their time is to pass off smaller accounts and some of the ongoing activity for placing orders, order status, and follow-up of their responsibilities to another person or department.

Your reps balk and say they can’t make that pass off because:

  • “No one takes care of the customer like they need to.”
  • “They drop the ball (or order) ALL the time.”
  • “My customers are special and want me to take care of it for them.”
  • Past experiences, attitude, or assumptions.

Maybe it’s time to take a closer look. What’s the root cause of these excuses? Often its confidence in the pass off!

Determine what pass offs in your company processes and relationships are necessary and what might be keeping them from being effectively executed. Then resolve the underlying confidence issues.

Focus on what and how the pass offs need to be executed and why. The resolution plan will include communication, process refinement (or defining in the first place), clear expectations, and then execution.

Corporate cultures that combine accountability, respect, and quality result in higher trust between coworkers. The confidence in those pass off completions means more effective pass offs and completions…and company growth.

p.s. So glad that on 11/22/15 the passes on the football game brought home a win for the Packers!

4 Success Drivers You Need to Know...and Grow


How do you strengthen this "Will" among your sales associates? How does the lack of drive impact your daily life? I discussed this and so much more on a recent virtual training event you can access below. It's valuable information for any business leader who needs to maximize performance of their people to grow their company.

Click here to access the replay.