A blueprint is defined as a contact print of a drawing or other image rendered as white lines on a blue background, especially such as a print of an architectural plan or technical drawing; a detailed plan of action. (Source: The Free Dictionary). I was introduced to blueprints in one of my early construction jobs.
Without a blueprint, much of the information needed to complete a building would be missing. Leaders need blueprints or detailed action plans as well. Let’s consider an example from football.
An Upset Winner
On Saturday, January 11, 2020 the Tennessee Titans (No. 6 seed) upset the Baltimore Ravens (No. 1 seed) in Round Two of the AFC Divisional playoffs. The win was even more remarkable because the Titans were playing on the road in Baltimore. How did they do it? Their blueprint for success was better conceived and executed.
A successful blueprint for leading (and winning) requires mental toughness.
While I am not a big fan of either team, I did marvel at how well the Titan’s blueprint helped them to compete and win in a very challenging environment.
Blueprint for Victory
Tennessee won the game because they…
- Were assertive and confident. The Titans played with an edge right from the opening kickoff. They captured the early lead, were confident, and disrupted Baltimore’s offensive tendencies.
- Forced mistakes. Tennessee knew the strengths and weaknesses of Baltimore’s quarterback, Lamar Jackson. They forced him to throw passes into areas where he has struggled. That frustrated him and eventually impacted his confidence.
- Practiced discipline. Time and again the Titans limited Jackson’s ability to run his favorite offensive plays from the zone read. He didn’t fool the defense by faking the ball to a running back or wide receiver.
- Eliminated key elements of Baltimore’s offense. The Titans knew one of Baltimore’s strengths was their secondary. So, they limited their passes to key situations.
- Ran the ball. Winning in the playoffs is easier when you can run the football and control the clock. The Titans’ offensive line was stronger and more disciplined. Their running back, Derrick Henry, was patient and physical.
A Blueprint for Leadership
Leaders will be more effective when you…
- Model executive presence. Don’t be arrogant or pushy. Show confidence in yourself and others by doing what may feel uncomfortable at times.
- Know your strengths. Leaders can’t be good at everything but are likely great at some things. Focus on those strengths and delegate everything else.
- Be disciplined. Blueprints won’t do much good if you are always changing them. It takes discipline to execute plans and projects. Be prepared for sudden changes. Learn to be flexible if needed.
- Develop others. You can’t go it alone. You need talented team members. Invest in their growth.
Winning is one measure of leadership. To win consistently requires discipline and commitment. That’s why a blueprint is so important to the success of leaders and organizations.
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