top of page

Game On: Using Sports as a Lens for Effective Strategy Formulation

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles! Philadelphia Eagles!

I hear this chant, along with my seven year old son’s Sports s’Mack (@sportss_mack) raps and pre-game commentary throughout the football season. Philly mama’s boy through and through. It’s through our discussion about sports, the teams, their management, coaches, players, and game plays that I find myself explaining the foundational tenets of corporate strategy formulation to a first grader… and he gets it completely.

Too often I hear leaders talk about their #strategy as a platitude. “To deliver the world’s best XXX.” Or “To save the world through some hype cycle technology.” The reality is that those are not statements of strategy. They’re - at best - an attempt at a mission or vision statement. Conversely, leaders can mistake a goal such as “maximize shareholder return” as a strategy.

If you think about it from the lens of someone like Jeffrey Lurie, CEO of the Philadelphia Eagles, the organization’s strategy is not “win the Super Bowl” nor is it “get the best players within the salary cap.” Those are no doubt elements of success, but the strategy of the Eagles is a combination of measures, metrics, initiatives, objectives, and goals that all align to its mission, vision, and values.

I use this diagram with Mack when we talk about what makes for “good teams.” We often talk about these in terms of his own sports experiences and why my husband and I picked certain travel clubs over others for him. We look for clarity in the league regarding its mission, vision, and values. For example, a sports organization mission could be ‘to recruit, retain, and develop a first class team of players and staff that delivers unparalleled development, family experience, and community impact.’ This mission would be in service of a vision - perhaps something like ‘to ensure all local county youth have the opportunity, motivation, and access to the lifelong benefits of sports.’ Finally, the mission and vision have to be founded in a commitment to clearly defined and actionable core values, perhaps such as ‘Fairness - playing by equitable rules consistently applied.’

After establishing the mission, vision, and values of an organization, it is important to differentiate between goals and objectives and identify measurable ways to track success. For instance, in the context of sports training, one might ask, what are the specific goals for improving athletic performance? Defining these goals and identifying the key performance indicators (#KPIs) that will be used to measure progress towards them is essential. This could involve determining metrics such as increased speed or endurance, improved technique, or enhanced physical strength. Once these goals and KPIs have been identified, it becomes easier to track progress and make any necessary adjustments to training programs to ensure success.

Nyla Beth Gawel with her son at an NFL Philidelphia Eagles Football Game

Mack absorbs this all, and may be well attuned for a future in sports commentary as he assesses the management’s capacity, vision, decisions, and fan support. Luckily the #eagles had a good year; Mack loved his time at Lincoln Financial Field; and Jeffrey Lurie’s “blueprint for success…is not just limited to football, as the Philadelphia Eagles organization has wholly embraced a championship mentality in all aspects of its operations, especially the community.” Looks like perhaps Fly Eagles, Fly isn’t just the mantra of the best fans, but of marketing a great strategic organization.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page