Why the Super Bowl is Like the Business World.

Throwing a football around wearing tight pants and eye black may seem the opposite of the world of business, but I think the two share important similarities.

In fact I believe if we don’t develop 3 of the same character traits of the top NFL players we will never reach the top of the corporate world.

The best players and the best business execs each have these personality aspects to an extreme degree:

1. Ultra focus.

You don’t see linemen trying to be quarterbacks, or the team kicker trying his hand at playing wide receiver.

The NFL world understands that you can only be superb if you specialize. The same is true in business. Great entrepreneurs understand that they must focus on an industry or niche – really get to know it and delve down into its intricacies if they ever hope to master it. In the same manner superb corporate executives appreciate that they need to be brilliant at just a small number of skills, the critical few that they are both suited to and are the most valuable to their company.

Whether in football or business, generalists are less likely to reach the top.

2.Devotion to practice.

The Superbowl wasn’t won by the Ravens on February 3. It was won far earlier, during the thousands of hours the players and coaching staff practiced and refined their craft. Business is no different. Skills practice is vital – whether it’s sales skills, marketing expertise, financial acumen or strategy prowess.

Both footballers and business people are made not born; through endless finessing of their key skill sets.

3. Deep passion.

The wild, chest beating machismo of many of the 49ers and Ravens players is certainly not evident in the corporate world, but make no mistake, deep down in every great business person is similar passion- though it will express itself in more sedate ways.

Nobody ever got to the top in business by being nonchalant. No matter how talented, those who are ambivalent about their careers tend to get steam rolled by those that are passionate. The complexities and shifting sands of business life demand total immersion and commitment- anything less leads to mediocre performance.

So as you can see, Superbowl players actually have quite a lot in common with people in business. Which begs the question, how do you score on the three key attributes of both professions – ultra focus, devotion to practice and deep passion? Are you too a world champion?