In American Football, each 'team' is made up of three teams. There is a team for offence, defence and a specials team. As indicated in their names, one team is for plays where the team is on offence, advancing towards the goal. One for defence is when the team is protecting ground they have made against an advancing team. And one for special moments when the team has to think outside normal play.
In leadership, each of these teams is representative of our leadership mindsets. We have a mindset that enables us to pursue our goals, one that protects the gains we have made towards our goals and a mindset that
we use to think outside the box to either protect or advance when things are not going as we would expect.
Each team has different strengths, and while many players could play on any of the teams, it is important to have the right team on the field at the right time to operate in an optimum way. While you could have the defence team on the field when you have the ball and are advancing towards the goal, it is not going to be as effective as having the offence team on at that time.
At times, in my leadership journey, I have found myself trying to advance towards a goal with the defence mindset. Usually, it is when I find myself with a full calendar and not much time for thinking. A problem arises on the journey, and I try to solve it with the defence mindset. Trying to mitigate the current risk and ‘fix’ it with a short-sighted vision. I focus on the current symptoms rather than the cause. This rarely solves the long-term problem and almost always means I need to address the issue repeatedly until I eventually play the long game and fully step into my leadership role. Where I lead and do not just troubleshoot problems.
In our lives, there will always be problems that require solving. Whether as a father, a leader, a minister or a coach, issues can be repaired through defensive thinking, but rarely, in my experience, will this generate a long-term solution. No matter how complex the situation, there is always more than one way to approach an issue. Take time to think and pray. Asking God what is the best way to front foot the situation, seeking to not just mitigate risk, not just to solve the current issue, but to move forward, making yards in spite of what is at hand.