Stop Flopping Around Like a Goldfish - Create a “Goal Post” Business

Goal Post Business

Great companies understand that they need to have a "goal post" philosophy to ensure their company's success. Every employee (player) must know his role. First they need to have the philosophy (foundation) to hold up the employees (cross bar) that support the processes (left upright) as well as the assessment of accomplishments (right upright).


I promise that I won't use only football concepts to forward my ideas. Like any great game, even the game of business, there are both metaphors that are obvious and those that are hidden deep within. I hope my example pushes on an emotional button that encourages you to improve your company.


We'll cover the three foundations to creating a "goal post" business.


If your company doesn't have a philosophy then you probably have workers that are looking for one. Employees need to connect with something more than just, "Make money." We are in an age where people want to know why they are doing their jobs.


A philosophy is the foundation of every organization. Every team needs to have a philosophy to guide its actions. The greatest coaches understand this and set the mood for the season. Many teams give up halfway through the season because they were given the philosophy of Superbowl or bust. If a team lost a few games they might believe they weren't good enough; when this happens no amount of money can make them play hard. Employees in a business are the same way. They want to be paid well, but if the company doesn't motivate them emotionally they will eventually lose interest.


If you watch football you've probably seen teams play awful in the first half of the season then turn it around; the coach probably gave them a philosophy to hold on to that kept them motivated. The coach willed them to believe that they could win.


Most people have a philosophy that guides them through tough times. They use it to make good choices. Great organizations make sure that they clearly convey their message to the rest of their employees.


  • "Do no evil" - Google
  • "The People of Southwest Airlines are the creators of what we have become - and of what we will be." -Southwest Airlines
  • Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity." - Starbucks


The employees believe in the philosophy and give 100% to make it happen.


Every job must have a process or the employee flounders with what to do and how to do it. I've worked for companies who have broad job descriptions and I've seen workers, including myself, flop around like a goldfish on a countertop, gasping for water.


A process creates action. When people understand what is expected of them, they want to get moving to accomplish their goals. This is good, but we don't want them to work to feel busy, we want them to work smart. Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots knows how to teach the difference.


Bill Belichick makes sure his players understand where they need to be in every situation. They won three Superbowls in the last seven years because the players understood their roles. They never tried to overextend themselves, which would have caused blown plays. They are also never out of position. Belichick also gives his players instructions on what to do if a play breaks down. They always have options that are calculated risks to minimize bone headed plays.


When we empower people within the process we get intelligent action, instead of just action for the sake of moving. You can do this by encouraging every employee to take an active role in improving the company.


Assessing the accomplishments or lack there of will help the company improve. Almost every company I worked for assessed my work, but never gave me the proper tools to help me improve my job. I rarely felt motivated or properly rewarded.


A regular assessment is vital to making positive changes. We wouldn't sprint through a forest during a cloudy night and we wouldn't run an organization without checking in and making sure the organization is going in the right direction. The people who are best positioned to assess and improve the company are the employees. They are best able to fix any problems because they are closest to the problem, and the employees who are willing to identify a problem are more likely to find a solution.


That's why great teams point out the faults of their players and show them how they can improve on the play. Players that take assessment personally and sulk are less likely to improve and may never take their play to the next level. The great players know that they have to improve on their mistakes to become great. A company needs to be able to listen to and empower their employees to move a company in the right direction. Management can't do it all by themselves, they need their employees' wisdom. Two heads are better than one and 500 heads are better than 50.


A positive solution is to create a reward system for every employee's suggestion that is implemented into the company. If an employee suggests buying a computer program to save time and it is implemented then they should receive a small gesture of thanks. The employee understands that he is being listened to (feeling of empowerment) and the company improves. Toyota implements this system and they give between $5 and $2,000 depending on the value of the suggestion.


Every company is different and maybe a monetary reward wouldn't fit with your company. You can reward employees in other ways like an extra hour off work or a dinner for two after a certain amount of improvements were implemented due to their suggestions.

Review of Creating a "Goal Post" Business

Your company must create a winning attitude otherwise you'll become a stagnant pond of unhappiness. I know that this sounds extreme, but I've seen it happen. Unhappy teams kill all chances for success. You must ask yourself, "Does my company have a "Goal Post" business?" Most companies that I've worked for have been small and didn't have a philosophy that helped an employee connect with the company.


If you feel your company can improve then sit down and write down a revised company philosophy, the process of your job, and five ways your company can improve. If you are the boss then implement them, if not then take it to your manager and see if you can get the "Goal Post" business working for you. If you are hesitant in any way, contact me and I'll talk to your company and see if we can create a system that encourages improvement and not just by using the same old methods, but by implementing systems that take people's ideas into account. I believe it's the best way to grow a business.


  •  "Do no evil" - Google
  •  "The People of Southwest Airlines are the creators of what we have become - and of what we will be." -Southwest Airlines
  •  " Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity." - Starbucks


What is your company's philosophy? If you don't have one what do you think it should be?


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