The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks face off in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, but much of the pre-game media coverage hasn’t focused on which team is likely to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
Controversy surrounding proper football inflation and other issues unrelated to the game itself dominated discussions about the event for more than a week – which may make running a National Football League team sound like just another day at the office for many business professionals. Whether you’re a football fan, if you’ve worked in business, it’s likely that these scenarios have a familiar ring:
1. It’s the little things. The proper inflation of a game-day football may seem like a minor detail, but questions about the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game blew up into a major media storm.
A business professional’s life is filled with attention to details like these – from making sure the right questions are asked during a job interview to ensuring that employment law posters are properly displayed.
If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s worth the effort to pay attention to the details that keep a business in compliance with employment laws, look no further than the “deflategate” controversy.
2. Lots of hot air. Answering question after question about football inflation can make it a challenge to concentrate on what’s really important, such as preparing for a game with a television audience of more than 100 million viewers.
When a seemingly minor problem derails the typical workday routine, it’s up to the business leader to take charge and communicate a strategy for dealing with the issue.
Ignoring a growing problem gives it the chance to burst a team’s unity. Confronting it allows the team to see it in its proper perspective, focus on work goals, and be ready for the game-day deadline.
3. Too little hot air. Lost in the Patriots’ football flap has been the trouble one of their opponents causes every time he reluctantly steps in front of a media microphone – or hesitates to do so.
Seattle running back Marshawn Lunch has made no secret of his distaste for media interviews, giving curt answers. As good as he is on the field, these off-the-field refusals to play along with the media game could result in a significant fine. Can the NFL really do that? Sure, even though answering questions has nothing to do with scoring touchdowns. Lynch can be expected to do his job, even the parts he finds distasteful.
An employer has to walk a fine line between keeping superstars happy and making sure they don’t develop an attitude that tarnishes the brand as a whole.
While a typical workday lacks the glamour of the Super Bowl, the issues that arise with NFL personnel aren’t that much different than those that are seen in workplaces around the country. Paying attention to how they’re handled can help a team of coworkers recover from similar workplace fumbles and come out winners.
Terri Dougherty is an associate editor for J. J. Keller & Associates, a compliance resource firm. She is the author of products on topics ranging from drug-free workplace to employment law posting requirements. For more information, go to www.jjkeller.com/hr.