Prevailing as a Panther, Prisoner of War, or a Business, a Lesson from Jim Collins G2G


It has been a few days now since Super Bowl 50.  Odds are, if you were betting, it was on the Panthers with their all-around talent, strength and coaching and continual improvement throughout the year. I have seen analysis over the past several days on as to why Panthers did not win.  So, why did the Panthers lose?

First, Cam Newton, phenomenal quarterback with unbelievable talent and abilities.    During the 2 weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, he was told over and over again how great he was.  He knows he is great and he showed you during warm up at the Super Bowl with the Superman shirt and the MVP big yellow shoes!

WhaBank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte, NC, is home to the Carolina Panthers. Formerly known as Carolinas Stadium and Ericsson Stadium, the 73,500-seat football stadium was named Bank of America Stadium in 2004. For that reason, many fans now call the stadium "The Vault," or "The Bank."t about Carolina Panthers’ offensive line?  They gave solid ` protection for Cam through the season leading up to the Super Bowl.  Watching the games through the season, it seemed that Cam had more time than any other quarterback in the NFL to either throw the ball or run with it.  This allowed great plays to happen for the team and why so many points could be racked up.


So, here are some questions, what was the state of mind of Cam and the offense at the start of the Super Bowl?  I am not saying they were not prepared, but were they prepared for what was coming from the Denver defense?  Play after play, on Carolina’s offense, Cam was overwhelmed by the pressure of the Denver “D”.   Had the media or hype put the offense into a lull or state of mind that caught them off guard?  The Panthers believed in themselves and had total confidence along with belief, that they would win the Super Bowl.  Here is the big question, did the Panthers not confront the brutal fact that the Denver Broncos were going to focus their whole game plan and strategy around shutting down Cam?

In the book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins talks about when he met Admiral Stockdale, who was a Vietnam War veteran and hero, enduring the 7 years of captivity and torture in a North Vietnamese  prison.   Jim Collins, after interviewing Admiral Stockdale and reading his book, determined his survival through this hell on earth was a paradox of two thoughts and 050706-N-0000X-004 Navy File Photo - President of the U.S. Naval War College, Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale, USN. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)beliefs now known as “The Stockdale Paradox”.    It is:

 “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of difficulties”

And at the same time

“Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be”

Many of the Good to Great companies made it through tough times to come out on top because they applied and instilled this principal in their employees, management, culture and overall business.   Being optimistic, passionate and belief in yourself and your business that you will prevail no matter what is needed to succeed, but if you don’t confront the facts about what is going on in your business and deal with it, the company may succeed, but struggle in growth.

When the Panthers beat the Cardinals in a big way, their faith and belief grew to a level of “we are unstoppable”.   They believed they could “prevail” regardless of what difficulties the number one defense could throw at them.   The Panthers, unfortunately, did not “confront” the most brutal fact that the Broncos were going to have a strategy of keeping Cam on his heels the whole game with constant pressure and attacking the weak spots in the Panther offensive line.

Where are the weak spots in your business?   Many times it is in areas that you or your employees are not experienced or have enough experience to deal with it.   You got into business because you wanted to control your destiny.   You wanted to do something you were passionate about and knew you could money at it.   They challenge today is, there is more regulation, compliance and HR challenges than ever before.   You want to focus on your business and want your employees to do the same while want to stay with your company. They believe your vision and know you are taking care of them with competitive benefits and good pay.

Employers, need more than ever, support (a partner and adviser) in areas like employee administration, regulation and cost effective way to offer benefits in tough competitive marketplace.   A partner and organization that can offer expert advice and provide resources that can help the employer focus, remain true to the vision and protect them from the brutal reality of being tackled again and again, as they move towards their goal.

As far as the Panthers go, the future looks exciting because I know they will hit the mistakes head on, learn from it and head to the Super Bowl again in 2017.  Like Cam Newton, as a business leader, optimism and belief that your business will be a success for the long term has to be part of your mindset.   If you have a CPA, Accountant, Payroll Specialist, Health Benefits or Commercial Lines Broker, that has provided you solid advice ask them about help and resources through Hamilton Edwards and Advisor HR.

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