At 40 years of age, Brett Favre is the oldest field player in the National Football League (NFL) and he already is a living legend. While a lot of people wondered why he went for another season – his 19th – four months ago, you won’t hear this question anymore these days, as he has played a great season so far (statistically his best ever with a passer rating of 106). Last Sunday, he and his team clinched their playoff spot with the 11th win in 13 games this season.
What makes him so strong?
Former defensive tackle Warren Sapp analyzed it right in an interview about one month ago when he said about Favre: “He’s utilizing everything he has (learned) over these years of playing this game and (is) bringing it to this ballclub (…) It looks like it doesn’t matter whatever the situation is, he just going to come out, block everything out and focus on the task ahead and gets the job done for his ballclub.”
That’s an easy takeaway valid also for non-sports organizations. Experienced managers can use their experience. They have been to many kinds of situations before and can simply pull a lot of good solutions from their memory. They don’t get nervous so easily, nor are they easily distracted.
So why aren’t companies relying more on experienced staff?
Well, they may not seem as sharp, loud and powerful as the young guns, or as Favre puts it with regards to his situation, “your arm may not feel like it did at 21”. And they may just not feel the motivation Brett Favre feels. When you watch him play these days or smiling at the sidelines when not in play, you realize that his main driver is to have fun. And he obviously has a lot of it.
“Up to this point it’s been a lot of fun.” (Brett Favre on the 2009 season)
Think about it. How can you create an atmosphere in your organization that makes it fun for experienced colleagues to work there?
There are plenty of possibilities. Give them room to use their experience, give them flexibility, be nice, listen to them, give them young people they can help forming. And most important: Give it a try.
“If they were willing to take that chance, I was, too.” (Brett Favre during his first press conference after announcing to play for the Vikings in August, 2009)
Are you also willing to take the chance?