I’ve been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys for as long as I can remember – it’s simply a factor of growing up in the Dallas area, sprinkled with a dash of loyalty. Plus, their uniforms are simply the best in the NFL, but I digress. Being a fan of the Cowboys means that I’ve witnessed my share of great times and not-so-great times:
For every Super Bowl victory there has been a lost season of 4-12
For every Roger Staubach, there has been a Quincy Carter
For every Randy White there has been a Greg Hardy
For every Jimmy Johnson there has been a Jason Garrett
The frustrating thing about Jason Garrett is that he continually coaches from a place of fear, seemingly unwilling to trust his players – many of them very good players – to take the chances necessary to make big plays and, ultimately, win the big games. For example, in 2015 the Cowboys were dead last in the league in offensive pass plays that resulted in gains of 30 yards or more. His offense is both simple and predictable which makes the defensive coordinator's job for an opposing team a lot less taxing. By not taking risks, the team continually plays not to lose as opposed to playing to win. The result is consistent mediocrity as witnessed by Jason Garrett's career coaching record of 45-43.
It’s no different in business. When you play it safe in an attempt to protect client relationships, you leave yourself vulnerable to the competition who are willing to take risks and play to win. By embracing the safety of the known and refusing to take chances, you become stale, predictable, and expected. Predictable might result in consistent mediocrity, but you’ll never get the big gains or win the big clients by selling from a place of fear.
I’ll always be a fan of the Cowboys, no matter how infuriating they are to watch – it’s just the nature of a sports fan. In business, will your customers be as forgiving and loyal to your predictable mediocrity?