Winning Is Knowing The Rules Better Than Your Competitor

by Brian Cox

On January 11, the New England Patriots faced the Baltimore Ravens in a contest that would dictate which team moved onto the AFC Championship game. Going into the game as heavy favorites to win, the Patriots quickly found themselves losing the game 14-0 quickly. Undeterred, they powered through trading touchdowns with the Ravens for the remainder of the game to ultimately win. The real story that comes out of this win, however, is how the Patriots reached into their bag ‘o tricks to achieve what they had come to – win.

Several players on the Ravens were quoted as follows in an article in the Boston Globe

“They pulled out every trick play in the book” – Chris Canty, Ravens defensive end.

“They couldn’t just drive the ball down on us regular. They had to do something tricky.” – Ladarius Webb, Ravens cornerback.

“You’ve seen one gimmick, you’ve seen them all.” — Terrell Suggs, Ravens linebacker.

And the most profound…

“It’s not something that anybody’s ever done before.” – John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach.

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens were not just upset that they had lost, but that they had done so because of what they deemed trickery on the part of the Patriots. Their anger, however, was misdirected as the Patriots did nothing wrong, according to the NFL rules.

New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, summed it up best in his reply to their criticisms when he said, “Maybe those guys got to study the rule book and figure it out? We obviously knew what we were doing.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did. Any other team in the NFL could have pulled off the plays and formations that the Patriots did which helped them win that game – but nobody ever had. By knowing the rules and using them to his team’s advantage, he was able to throw unexpected plays and confuse his opponents enough to win. On the other side of the field, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, was complaining about the rules and how the Patriots won. He was so incensed during the game that he even, literally, cried foul (and got one) when he ran onto the field to argue with officials.

Being successful in business and marketing is no different. Dealerships have so many rules placed on them by so many different regulating bodies, it’s surprising that they can say anything more than “Here is our car. You should buy it.” To win in the automotive industry, you have to be a leader.

Business leaders are creative. They find ways to innovate and do things that their competitors aren’t. They know the rules of the game backwards and forwards. They find strategies and incorporate plays that nobody else does, and then use them to win. Whether that’s winning a new customer, a star employee or simply sales volume, they have thought about all scenarios and crafted strategies to achieve them. There are plenty of books that tell you how to be a successful leader, run a successful business, have success in marketing and hire superstars. Every business has access to those resources. Success lies in not only knowing the rules but in knowing the rules so well that, when you pull out that trick play, your competition doesn’t know what hit them.

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