Know The Rules . . And Win

I’m listening to Jack Welch’s book Winning on tape.  Part of the book’s chapter on Managing your Company stressed hiring the right people and specifically hiring people who know the rules.  Presumeably people who understand the rules of their business are able to spot opportunities for pushing the business while still abiding by the letter and spirt of the law.

Jack’s got a lot of great insight in his book and he’s a great companion on my early morning walks, when I can get out of bed in time 😉

But Jack’s words did not ring true until something I just saw a couple of days ago.  In fact most Rule Mavens I know would rather beat you over the head with their knowledge of the rules then look for ways to push the boundaries of the business within them.

On Friday I saw a link to a great story, it was about a couple of high school football coaches in California that spent the better part of  3 years developing a completely new offensive strategy called the A-11Offense.  This new offense is so revolutionary that the coaches weren’t completely sure it was legal.  But they poured through the rule books and were confiedent that it was. 

To be sure they when meet with league officials and referees who agreed that the new offense scheme was both legal and revolutionary.

Unlike traditional offenses which telegraph which players are eligible and which are not by the way they line up, the A-11 makes it appear as though everyone is a eligible receiver and now the defense doesn’t know who to cover.  The base offense also includes two quarterbacks lined up in shotgun formation.

They installed this offense in the spring of 07′ and ran it 40-60% of the time in the 07 Season.  It took them a couple of games to work out the finer points, looking at the reaction of the opposing teams but then then ran off 7 consecutive wins.

The coaches have been fielding questions from all of the country about their offense.  They started a website where they document their offense and provide information and support to other teams interested in learning how to run this offense.

Then it occurred to me this is the advantage of having players on YOUR team who understand the rules.  They can rethink how we do business and create completely new ways to be more efficient and profitable.   Helping us to be as successful as the Piedmont Highlanders of Piedmont, CA.

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