September may be my favorite time of the year. In addition to the adrenaline rush of running the U.S. Open, it’s also the beginning of the football season. As an avid football fan, I can hardly wait for the first Sunday of the season to dive into the action of the NFL, in particular the ups and downs of the New York Jets (as well as track my fantasy team!).
One of the reasons that I really enjoy football is the many parallels between football and running an IT organization. First of all, running a professional organization, just like football, is truly a team sport. Many football fans focus primarily on the play of their team’s elite quarterback.
While it is exciting to watch Peyton Manning throw yet another touchdown pass, I would argue that this is just one small aspect of what makes a team successful. Take, for instance, Tom Brady who may arguably be one of the two best quarterbacks ever (as a Jets fan, it hurts me to write that!). While Brady is a brilliant field general and seems to make everyone around him raise his game, guess what happens if his left tackle misses a blocking assignment? Yes, Brady ends up on the turf, wishing he had stayed at home with Giselle!
You see, no matter how gifted your quarterback may be, they are only effective if every member of the team plays his position well and are accountable for their assignment on any given play.
Another similarity is the way quarterbacks and CIOs get treated by “the experts.” Both quarterbacks and CIOs get way too much credit when things go well. I always tell people when my team or I win an award that I’m just the guy who gets to stand up and accept the award, but that the team did the hard work to deserve it. Conversely, they often take way too much of the blame when things go poorly.