If you watch the NFL at all, you know that this weekend the Minnesota Vikings lost a heartbreaker of a playoff game to the Seahawks in subzero temperatures. As I watched the predictable social media response after the game, I could sympathize with kicker Blair Walsh, who missed a short field goal that would have sealed a Vikings win. Not because he missed the kick (it is his job, after all), but because Viking fans focused so much on his mistake and not everyone else’s.
Where are the Internet meme’s about Adrian Peterson’s fumble or Andrew Sendejo’s dropped interception (that hit him in the hands)? The thing with football is that there are dozens of “games within the game” that take place on every snap. Remember when the Vikings’ defense bit on a fake handoff and left the edge so open that Russell Wilson could have gotten a first down wearing a blindfold? Remember the penalties or the missed blocks?
My point isn’t that the Vikings are bad, because they’re not. My point is that if everyone on your team takes care of their assignment on every play, you don’t get stuck crossing your fingers on a game winning kick at the end of the game. The same thing applies to customer service in your company. We talk a lot about customer touchpoints here at Anchor, and they can make life seem a lot like a Vikes game. A single missed play can make a great team look bad. Imagine that you take your car in to be serviced. The initial customer service rep is great and the team of mechanics who diagnose and repair your car are wonderful, but the cashier who takes your money is painfully slow. The only thing you tell your friends about at lunch is how slow the cashier was.
Don’t feel too bad for Blair Walsh (he makes good money for kicking a ball around), but don’t forget to take a good hard look at everything that happened in the game to put him in the spot he was in. Then take a similar look at your own company. When we all work together to do our jobs, our success isn’t nearly as dependent on any one individual. I suppose that’s what teamwork is all about.