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6 Business Lessons To Learn From The Iowa Hawkeyes

Hawkeyes
Hawkeyes
Sep 26, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz congratulates quarterback C.J. Beathard (16) and wide receiver Riley McCarron (83) during the second quarter against the North Texas Mean Green at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Note: It’s Matt’s turn to write a blog post this week and he’s a bit preoccupied with his Iowa Hawkeyes who just completed their first undefeated regular season in 93 years. While we remain steadfast supporters of Mizzou, we’ll let him have his day in the sun. #MIZ

I have been an Iowa Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember. Growing up just an hour away from Kinnick Stadium, I’ve witnessed my fair share of wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s what makes this year’s 12-0 squad so amazing. No one saw this coming except those inside the football program. And even then, (at least in my opinion) it was likely motivational rather than true expectation. This football team has occupied a great deal of my free time this fall so it was bound to lead to a blog post at some point. There’s much to be learned from this team and its head coach, Kirk Ferentz.

  1. Failure Is Only The Beginning – The Hawkeyes ended the season with a thud last year, blowing a 17-point 2nd half lead to Nebraska and losing in overtime and then getting destroyed by Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl. That was, arguably, the low point of the Ferentz Era for Iowa football, which started in 1999. It would have been fair to compare them to The Walking Dead. The majority of fans and the media were calling for his job, thinking the game had passed him by. Instead, Ferentz re-evaluated his program and made changes many did not think he was capable of making. I’d argue that this 12-0 campaign is a direct result of the misery at the end of the 2014 season and the tumultuous off-season. Failure only shows the path to success.
  2. Take A Hard Look In The Mirror – Failure is only the beginning, but it is an easily repeatable process. It takes a person of exceedingly high honesty to look at the situation they are in and make the changes necessary to experience success. Kirk Ferentz is in his 17th year of coaching the Hawkeyes. He has routines and beliefs that have served him well. He changed many of the internal processes of the team; changing to morning practices, for example. A minor change to you and me; a seismic change for a man like Ferentz. Change for the sake of change is dangerous, but stubbornness can be a fatal flaw.
  3. Embrace Your Identity – The style of offense Iowa plays hasn’t changed this year. Neither has the style of defense. Iowa is what Iowa is. It is not flashy and will never have the number of 5-star recruits programs like Michigan, Ohio State, or Alabama. It finds players that work in its system and develops them into NFL caliber talent. You don’t have to be anything other than what (and who) you are because you can experience high levels of success by finding your edge and exploiting it.
  4. Ignore Distractions… – Few people outside of Iowa’s fans think the football team belongs in the College Football Playoff discussion. Several national media members like Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, Paul Finebaum, and others, have used hours of airtime detracting Iowa and its schedule. How they would be crushed by anyone they hadn’t played. Ferentz’s mantra all season long has been the clichè “one game at a time.” And that’s exactly what they’ve done. Don’t let naysayers keep you from accomplishing the “impossible.”
  5. …But Use Them For Motivation –  Iowa quarterback CJ Beathard called the aforementioned comments “exciting” after some of those people guaranteed a Nebraska win on Friday. There’s emotional power to be found in those who doubt you. Prove them wrong and take your business to unprecedented levels of success.
  6. Hold Yourself To High Standards – Desmond King, Iowa’s best defensive player who has 8 interceptions on the season so far, was 15 minutes late to a team meeting last week. As punishment, he was forced to sit out the 1st quarter of the game on Friday. That’s a minor infraction, and a player of King’s importance could have instead received the benefit of the doubt from his coaches and teammates. However, he was held to a high standard. The same standard as everyone else on the team. Don’t take the easy path. When you hold yourself to high standards, your reputation increases in a positive manner with your colleagues and clients. And that is something that isn’t easy to do.

What does the rest of the season hold for the Hawkeyes? Only time will tell. Kirk Ferentz and his staff have made needed changes while staying true to themselves. As a result, they have pushed the team to a level it hasn’t been in my lifetime. Controlling its own destiny on the road to winning a national championship in December. How can you use these lessons to change your business? If you need some help, give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to chat with you about experiencing your potential.