Aligning for Efficiency – the Superbowl!

At a recent gathering, I had the fortune of hearing colleague, Bill Lively, CEO of the Texas Super Bowl Host Committee speak. By way of background, Bill had acclaimed super star status for his supernatural ability to raise funds for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts over the past few years. While there, he was responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the campaign which raised $338 million and a record number of first time, $1million donations. Imagine, in a recessionary period, breaking the record of getting over 100 individual (not corporations), first time donations. A feat worth every ounce of respect he has attained.

Intrigued and curious with this remarkable achievement, I asked him what the three most important factors were which attributed to his success. He responded, in this order:

1. Have the right people on the team. He humbly gave credit to his posse of heavy hitters and said that in every endeavor which aspires to reach stretch goals, having the right combination of individuals is critical. Passion, unwavering commitment, and strength of conviction were his primary pillars. He also said that for this particular effort, having the right connections, the right level of credibility, and a proven track record for excellence was pivotal in gaining support.

2. Have a clear vision and well articulated, understood strategy. Bill believes once a vision and strategy is clearly and vividly painted, typically people will line up behind you to support the actual execution. Clarity, succinct delivery, and consistency were his mantra when he communicated their vision for the future which was often and authentically.

3. His last factor was a bit surprising to the group, yet, upon further thought makes perfect sense. He said they had to be efficient. This seemed a bit obvious and a bit like having the ‘block and tackle’ aspect of the game down. (pardon the football metaphor, in light of the Super Bowl, I thought it appropriate.). He said they had to stay focused on the ‘end game,’ ensure all their resources were aligned appropriately for the greatest return, and prove through their actions and words they were strong stewards of money and resources.

Clearly, these three factors were instrumental in achieving the tremendous success Bill and his team achieved. Great reminders for all of us as we put in place our teams, strategic plans, and budgets for 2011.