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The Talking Football 2.0

Feb 18, 2019 10:11:18 AM / by Travis Jacobs

just add leadership


The Talking Football is a very simple and incredibly effective tool to lead your team and win.


The Talking Football is a 3 part system

 Part 1. The Talking Football

 Part 2a.  Who's On First

 Part 2b.  The Pink Elephant

 Part 3. Red Flags

             a. Threats

             b. Waste

             c. The Stop Doing List


Which project would you rather work on and be a part of ...


The typical project .. The Bad ...

... Which is usually a death spiral ...


The Ideal Project .. The Good

... Smart people who trust & respect each other solving complex problems with great leadership & communication.


The Actual Project ... The Bad

... Is a blend of The Good ... The Ugly ...  


The CEO Challenge is the solution to the good, bad & ugly


The talking football is a very simple concept ... if you aren't physically holding the football you are to listen ... not talk ... Listen to understand ... not to respond.    Listen to the other person to understand them from their perspective ... standing in their shoes.    To give everyone a voice and to have their voice heard.    There is a big difference between understanding a person and agreeing with them ... understanding does not equal agreement.

Patriots talking football


The Talking Football has a few purposes.

To eliminate the "meeting bully" ... the person who talks the loudest & bullies the others into "getting their way"

The person who likes to hear themselves talk ... monopolizes the conversation ... talks the "entire time" during the meeting ... no one else can get a word in otherwise.

The person who "thinks out loud" and tends to jabber incoherently and wastes everyone's time.

To eliminate people talking over each other ... not listening to each other ... and progressively raising their voice to be heard over the noise.

To give everyone a voice and a chance to have their voice heard ... the shy introvert that has really good ideas ... but refuses to talk over the meeting bully or raise their voice to be heard.

To minimize ego ... and the offensive display of overbearing pride ... arrogance ... superiority ... self importance.


You may say this is simple ... a bit silly ... maybe even childish.

I agree it is simple and a bit silly.  But so is sitting in meetings 40 hours a week for months and months and getting absolutely nothing accomplished ... then when the meeting is over ... spending hours & hours sending pointless emails to discuss what was just talked about in the meeting.   

The only decision that comes out of it ... to schedule another meeting ... to update the status of the status ... I call this the typical project


Trust & Respect are the key to success ... & winning.  How many times have you sat in a meeting and thought ... "this is the dumbest idea I've ever heard" ... but you say nothing ... no one else does either.


Millions of dollars and months later ... "everyone else" figures it out.

The funny thing is that "everyone else" already knew this wouldn't work ... but no one said anything ... because they knew ... the messenger is the first one to be shot. 

This is a symptom of a culture suffering from low trust & little respect.

You can pay a person for their time ... and their hands ... but that is all you will get.

Creativity ... passion ... great ideas ... that one killer innovation ... preventing problems before they are big problems ... making your customers love you ... solving your customers biggest problems ... will not happen unless your people feel trusted and respected.


The world moves fast and becoming more and more complex every day ... no one person can know everything ... Business is a team sport ... the star quarterback can't win the Superbowl all by himself.


I like to hear myself talk


Leadership & Communication

True Leadership is required in today's environment ... Extreme Ownership is what it takes to achieve success.  Jocko Willink, a retired Navy SEAL commander says it best in his book.


The Talking Football is used to develop a coherent and integrated plan in three areas.

  1. Strategy
  2. Tactics
  3. Logistics

Humble & competent leadership combined with open & honest communication is what accomplishes the mission


The Ideal Project is a success ... the Typical Project Is a disaster.

In order for your team to avoid shooting yourself in the foot ... you need an environment where the brutal truth is heard.  You need a mechanism to call stupid stupid and wrong wrong. 

Open  and honest communication is the key to success ... 

This will sting a bit at first ... and will probably bruise your ego ... you have two choices.


Fail publicly with everyone watching.

Fail privately with no one watching ... but your team.


Create a learning culture where failure is celebrated and the lessons learned are perpetuated throughout the organization for all to benefit from


The talking football is not magical and it will not solve all of your problems overnight .. it is simply a tool ... a simple and powerful tool.


If All Of Us Are Thinking Alike, None Of Us Are Thinking At All


A toxic work environment is where innovation, teamwork, creativity, & happiness go to die. Productivity is non existent and your office is a "real life" Dilbert Cartoon. People hate their jobs, turnover is high and customer satisfaction is in the toilet.


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Topics: Leadership, Communication, Innovation, Execution, Strategy, Tactics, Winning, Purpose, Planning, Why

Travis Jacobs

Written by Travis Jacobs

Travis is the president of JA Simulations, a product design & development firm in Denver Colorado. We help clients solve problems & get to market faster with innovative & high quality products

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