What exactly does it mean to be a Monday morning quarterback?
It means you know what someone should be doing. What the play is. What the task is. You might even be able to describe the task in detail, exactly how some else should be doing it. It falls under the category of sideline complaining.
It also means you aren’t executing.
To be clear, a coach is not a Monday morning quarterback. A coach corrects the action for the next round of execution. A coach is engaged and involved in the game of business execution: operations, sales, development, support, account management, where ever there is aspiration and a want for improvement.
Four people assembled in the room right on time. They sat down around the table. Bill was there to help to discern why the tasks at issue were not being done. As Bill looked around the room everyone seemed highly engaged. Everyone had been trained in detail and seemed to know the material in detail. Yet, no one was executing to the level expected. Department plans were not in place with goals, obstacles, tasks and time frames. There was no synergy to the high level goals.
What the heck was going on?
As Bill started asking questions about how each person approached their tasks, one person, then the next answered them almost textbook. Knowledge was clearly not the issue. Not only had each person mastered the knowledge, each had read books or taken courses on similar topics. Yet there still was no execution. Each person acted like the expert Monday morning quarterback knowing exactly what another department or team member needed to do.
Bill continued to drive the questions toward each person individually to extract the real underlying issues. It turns out there were many issues. Communication, prioritizing, decision making all skills that were missing. Plus people became comfortable in their “ways we do things around here.”
This group had failed to develop the skills and attitudes needed to execute the plans. The group had also fallen into a comfort zone of being too busy to execute. Yet, they were experts in their knowledge.
What happened here?
Monday morning quarterback was alive and well. Each team member seemed to know best what the others should do to execute well. Yet, none were doing their jobs well. The combination of deep entrenchment in comfort zone and lack of execution skills meant performance would continue to suffer. Mistakes would happen, continuous improvement would falter or be non-existent.
This situation required a leader. Someone to step up to the task of setting a new standard and new expectations. The situation was begging for a person to set goals, assign tasks, set deadlines, and decide what not to pursue. And, of course it required the willingness of each team member to step in line.
How does a person recognize if they are the problem? If they are deeply in the act of the Monday morning quarterbacking?
Here are 5 sure fire ways to tell if you are suffering from being a Monday morning quarterback.
Play the blame game. “If only sales did their job.” “If only operations would deliver on time.” “If only engineering designed it right.” “If only marketing produced the right kind of leads.”
Bickering or argumentative. Being contrary or playing “the devil’s advocate.” A common statement indicating this symptom, “I tried it and it didn’t work.” This statement smacks of the opposite attitude of gritty determination.
Follow distractions. Dive into details and minutia that isn’t really solving the bigger picture. Chasing the urgent whether it is important or not.
Getting frustrated. Expecting something different to happen as the same approaches are repeated.
Being too busy to plan. Did you know that every 5 minutes of planning can save up to 50 minutes of wasted do-over, non-consequential time?
Avoid being a Monday morning quarterback and get in the game.
Helping Leaders Breakthrough
“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”