Help me, help you
Rod Tidwell stands naked, his inquisitive look the reaction to the imploring face of his agent, Jerry Maguire. “Help me, help you” Maguire repeats, over and over, his red face framing the exasperation in his eyes. Help me, help you.
This is the seminal moment in the film, Jerry Maguire. The moment where Tidwell, played by an inspired Cuba Gooding Jr., finally listens to the man who has staked everything on his career. This is Maguire’s last roll of the dice – his final, desperate attempt to free Tidwell up from the distraction of his next contract to enable him to focus on his next performance, his next game, his next opportunity to showcase his ability to the world. For failure to perform on the pitch would render any contract aspirations redundant.
Such is the challenge of professional sport. With the world watching at the weekend, each performance is critical to validating your work. Judgement is swift and opinions can change in the time it takes for a ball to cross the goal line. With such pressure, the next match is not a distraction but the focal point.
Herein lies the challenge. In football, we need to be constantly re-laying the foundations for the future while also doing everything that we can to win the next game. Yet it is almost impossible for club boardrooms to scan the horizon effectively while also watching their step.
Such is the value of an outside view. Seeking help from outside of the club can provide much-needed bandwidth while also ensuring that the prevailing thinking within the club is constructively challenged to deliver the best possible outcome in the long run.
A designated ‘Red Team’ to look after the future of the club, who are unencumbered by social proofing, will not help you win this weekend – that’s your job – but it will help you win in the future, and knowing that will make achievements in the short term all the sweeter.