A quiet time in the sports year: The soccer leagues in Europe are either taking a winter break or postponing most of their matches due to heavy snow and NBA and NHL are early in the season. The only big league really heating up is the NFL, where the playoffs started this weekend. So for those of you not too much into (American) Football, sorry to bother you again with it. But don’t be afraid: In one months from now the season will be over and you’ll not hear too much about football for quite some time…
Playoffs are an interesting concept, because they do not reward the team that is best over a long period of time (regular season), but the team that is best when it counts.
When thinking about it I was reminded of a situation myself and also many of you have experienced before: A managerial candidates assessment centers (AC). For those of you who have never been in this: An AC is a recruiting event lasting one or more days during which applicants for a job are tested using a combination of performance tests and group dynamic challenges to determine whose personal profile fits best for a given job.
In an AC, it does not count what you have done in your job over the last few years (just like the regular season in sports this only brings you there), it is all about your performance on this particular day, in this particular moment.
Here’s what we can learn from looking at an AC the way we look at playoff:
Everybody starts at zero: All playoff teams have the same chance to win the title. And all participants in an AC do. When you get there and talk to some of the other participants and they start pulling up a show – don’t let it intimidate you. You all have the same chances to win, no matter what you did before you got there.
Don’t make big mistakes: In the NFL, nearly 80% of the teams with more turnovers than their opponents lose their playoff games. In an AC it’s the same. If many people compete for one job, it is clear that the people running the AC have to sort out as many participants as possible to come to a conclusion. Don’t give them a reason to sort you out.
Play hard but don’t cause penalties: Give in all you got, try to convince, try to show that you are more capable than the others. However, don’t play foul: Don’t be insulting or too aggressive in any way.
Be concentrated: Try to find out the tactics of the other contestants and try to find out what the observers are looking for all the time. Then come up with the right plays.
Fight until the very last minute: How often have playoff matches been decided in the last drive? AC’s also nearly always come down to the last drive. By then it will probably only be a few contestant left in the game. Who’s not performing now will most probably not get the job, no matter how well you played until then.
And finally: Play it to win it: If you lose you’re out. In playoffs just like in the AC. Going with the stream is most probably not enough, you have to stand out. Not necessarily all of the time, but when it counts.
Good luck for your next game.