Image Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press
After watching the Panthers lose Super Bowl 50, a few of Cam Newton’s behaviors inspired me to write down these lessons that small business owners can take away from his actions.
1. Nobody Likes a Sore Loser.
Cam loves attention. He’s been getting a lot of it after his loss in the Super Bowl. But, it’s not good attention. It’s not attention he’s earned because of great football play. It’s because of his poor attitude at the end of the game and after the game was over. He was the spoiled kid who didn’t get what he wanted. He did not even try to credit the other team, or own up to his part in the loss. Instead, he threw tantrums on the field, and wouldn’t even talk to the media after the game.
Takeaway: When you lose, lose gracefully. Every successful business owner has a few losses under their belt. If Cam would have kept his composure, and given credit to his opponents for being a great team, he would have held onto a lot more respect as a player and a person. In business, when something doesn’t go your way, don’t be a Cam. When the deal doesn’t go through, stay positive and learn from it.
Have you ever encountered a salesman who is rude after hearing “no”? It creates hostility and ruins his chances of future business with you. Nobody likes a sore loser. Know that a “no” now doesn’t mean it can’t be turned into a yes. Unlike sports, a loss doesn’t have to remain a loss on your record. You can work harder, make changes, and turn it into a win.
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2. Your Team Needs a Strong Leader.
The Quarterback is the team’s offensive leader.. Cam Newton was not a leader in this game. A good leader takes the reigns and directs their team to their goal. When they face an unexpected challenge, they help the team get around it. This is not what Cam did during Super Bowl 50, and it helped his team lose the game. Cam needed to be positive during the negative situation he found himself in, and he wasn’t. He needed to dive on the ground and fight to recover fumbles with his team.
Takeaway: Be the leader your team desperately needs. Don’t get caught up in the role you wanted to play, or worry about appearances like Cam did. Leaders of winning teams always look good. Teams with leaders who are all about doing what it takes to reach their goals and make the difference are the ones who will walk away with the win. They put the team and it’s goals first.
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3. Ignoring Something Doesn’t Make it Go Away.
Cam thought the best way to deal with the Panther’s loss after the game was to just ignore that it happened. This ended up being the worst thing that he could have done. Drawing even more attention to the fact that – HE LOST.
Takeaway: Is there a process, a liability risk, a client you lost, or maybe just a suspicion that you have been ignoring at your business? The best thing to do is to face it head on. Deal with the worry, and make it go away. Many avoid doing this because of fear that they will discover something they need to fix about themselves or their business. I say, great! Awareness is the first step towards improvement. Don’t ignore it.
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4. Past Success Does Not Always Mean Future Success.
Cam Newton and the Panthers skated through their regular season. They were killing it. It seemed like nothing could stop them at certain points. And they were loving it. Then comes Super Bowl 50 and they don’t know what hits them. I think they came into this game expecting it to be a win given their historic regular and postseason.
Takeaway: The key is to be confident without the cockiness. Just because things have gone your way in the past does not mean they will continue to go that way forever. The Panther’s high powered offense were deconstructed on a world stage because they stepped on the field relying too much on how things had gone in the past. Small business is a constantly evolving game. If you get stuck in the past, you will lose. Even if you used to always win.
5. Your Brand Does Matter.
This applies on a personal level, a business level, and franchise football program level. Cam Newton came into Super Bowl 50 with a well-known personal brand (“Dab” anyone?). You live out your brand. Strong brand identity actually guides your actions, and helps you make decisions. In this case, I think Cam’s brand actually held him back. It didn’t win him many fans outside of Carolina. It put him in a position where he was up against a team that was able to out-perform him. His all-smiles, dance after the play, run-and-gun brand was not activated. Instead that smile was upside-down. There was no dancing. He was contained in the pocket and Denver shut down his offensive scheme.
Takeaway: Think about your brand and how it affects the way you play the game of business. What’s your mission? Why do you do what you do? Are there situations where it might actually hold you back? Set you up for failure? Examine your brand, then make the adjustments you need to put yourself in a position to win.
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All this being said, the future is very bright for this young quarterback. He just has a few lessons to learn, like we all do. Onward!