My son loved playing high school football, and during those years we established a tradition of camping on the couch to watch the NFL Combine. If you’re not familiar, the Combine is where fans can watch NFL prospects practice in front of coaches and scouts, and we always post up near the linebackers and linemen.
Though I’ve not played myself, watching the Combine and watching my son play has taught me a few things about football. Along the way, I picked up the acronym, KYP, which stands for “know your personnel.”
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For football players, that means knowing your people and their positions. Who should be where. Who does what. Who is the best person to handle a certain play. In the high-stakes structured chaos of a football game, knowing and acting on this knowledge makes the difference, and the more I have watched how coaches and players use KYP to their advantage, the more I see it in my own work.
The idea of knowing your employee’s strengths and weaknesses is not a new idea, but truly leaning into it the way a football coach might is still rare in the business world.
For example, our internal sales team is made up of of several people who on paper have the same or similar job descriptions. When it comes to styles, strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, two people filling the same role can find the same level of success in two very different ways.
When you are in the role of leading, managing, or simply collaborating with those individuals, understanding how they are different can change how you go about running that game-winning play.
If one salesperson loves to travel and the other prefers to work the phones, you should use that before you decide who to send to a conference. On the surface, that sounds like a simplistic example, but if you think about everything that goes into making a conference a success for the business, you will likely see that just as a football position is ideal for certain kinds of players, a conference is ideal for certain kind of employees.
Who on your team should go? Why? If one of your team members shies away from conferences, is this an opportunity to push for growth or would that time be better spent utilizing their other strengths? At the end of this process, you will likely decide that particular team members are better fits for that opportunity.