Tuesday, November 07, 2006

LEADERSHIP -- Is It Cheating If It's Within The Rules?

Leaders are always looking for an edge. Competition brings out gamesmanship and sometimes, the boss finds a loophole that gives your team a big advantage. think about that while you're reading about this story from USA Today that happened at last weekend's Wisconsin-Penn State game:
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema isn't a fan of college football's new speed-up-the-game rule that mandates the clock starts when a ball is kicked off rather than when it's received. But if Bielema can use the rule to his team's advantage, he will, and that's just what he did Saturday against Penn State.

With Wisconsin having just gone ahead 10-3, Bielema, 36, twice had his team intentionally go offside on kickoffs in the last 23 seconds of the first half, minimizing Penn State's chances to score. The two penalized kicks took 19 seconds off the clock and left Penn State coach Joe Paterno, 79, livid and complaining to officials.

Wisconsin athletics director and former coach Barry Alvarez said Monday that a discussion he had with Big Ten game officials during the summer helped devise the strategy.

"We had a scrimmage which was worked by a crew of Big Ten officials, and I was visiting with them and discussing how the new rule could change the game," Alvarez said. "They gave me that specific instance, so I mentioned it to Bret and the staff. I haven't been game-planning, but they have, and it makes sense to do it."

Bielema, whose team won 13-3, said Monday that while he doesn't necessarily agree with the rule, "I knew the rule and wanted to maximize it. ... It worked exactly as we envisioned it. It's something we practice. My guess is, with the attention we've received, there may be an (amendment)."

Brilliant. Wisconsin was able to hold onto victory by recognizing potential strength within a weakness in the rules. Great leaders do that--so where are the loopholes in your industry that might lead your team to victory one day?

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