be a change agent - football coach never puntsI recently saw an AWESOME Article and video about a football coach who never punts the ball.  Yah, that’s right – never.  A well produced video goes into detail and explains “Coach Kevin Kelley of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, instructs his players to never punt, never field punts, and only do onside kicks, and he claims that math backs up his innovative philosophy.”

What I really loved was that in the video Kelley talks about the MATH behind why he has made this decision.  Kelley looked at the numbers showing what was REALLY happening on the football field when they did or didn’t go for fourth down and found that the numbers supported this calculated risk.

He also uses onside kicks all the time because in his research on the stats, he found that the other team only got the ball about 14 yards further back if they did a normal kickoff.  But, if they recovered an onside kick it could be a game changer, so he built it into his strategy.

So he is changing the way the game has always been played because he has taken the time to think differently.

Kelley said he started reading books like Freakonomics, The Tipping Point, and Outliers to change the way he looked at the game.  Not just books about football…

It’s all about just looking for those little percentages to gain slight advantages and how they all add up.

The philosophy applies to your business and life as well.  What lessons can you take away from Coach Kelley for your situation?

1) Don’t just repeat what has been done before

I hate it when I hear, “We’ve never done that before. I don’t know if it will work.”  We can never be certain things will work and if we wait until we are 100%, chances are the opportunity has passed.  The past can provide lessons and insights, for sure, but are not true predictors of the future.  Can you carve a new path?  Can you analyze the data from the past and seek out new opportunities?

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2) Make it your mission to learn more

Leaders are readers.  It is a know fact.  Make it a daily habit to read for 30 minutes a day.  And read different types of books.  Read my post on how to make the most of your reading habits.   Set a goal to learn one new topic a month and try and learn as much as you can about that topic.  In  year, you will have a really good grasp on 12 concepts.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

3) Be willing to take risks and test your ideas

Risk can be a tricky word.  It really means that there is some chance that it won’t work.  And when things have a chance to fail, doesn’t it seem like people come out of every dark corner to warn us of the risk?  And I would say with complete certainty those people who warn you have not taken much risk themselves so they are really just projecting their own fears on you.  If you are going to listen to anyone, don’t listen to the people who never took a risk, but instead listen to those who have tried and failed.

4) Be a change agent

Follow the three steps above and be known as someone who dares to be different.   Don’t just accept what used to be for what has to be, be an insatiable reader, and take some risks!  With the pace of business today, more than ever, change agents are drastically needed.

[Tweet “Now, more than ever, change agents are drastically needed.”]

What changes can you implement in your business that will help identify you as a market innovator?  And how can you use those to catch your competitors off guard?

What can you take away from this story?  Leave a comment below on what inspired you most.

Joe Girard
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    5 replies to "The Football Coach Who Never Punts: A Great Example of Being a Change Agent"

    • Rick Hoogendoorn

      Reminds me of the movie Moneyball. Good article, Joe. Great title too. It grabbed me.

      • Joe Girard

        Glad you liked it, Rick! I loved the story and would love to see more people thinking like that!

    • Didier Vincent

      Not only must you be willing to take risk,
      You must be open to failure as much as you want to succeed,
      Then you become fearless,

      • Joe Girard

        You got it, Didier! When we embrace change as the BEST source of success, we open up unlimited possibilities. Learning from failure is the mark of a true leader.

    • […] Don’t get caught in an endless cycle of the same problems year after year. When the market changes, and you have a problem that won’t go away, don’t fall back on experience. Don’t resist change. And when your team complains, help them understand or find a better team that embraces change and thinks differently. Check out my other post on the football coach who never punts. […]

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