One of the biggest takeaways I had in all my years of playing and coaching basketball, that propelled me to significant heights in the business world, was the immense value of preparation.

Preparation is readiness for a future event as a goal and an acceptable outcome… it is being ready to have a successful experience and the delivery of a final product… your performance.

Some pay lip service to preparation and think that if you are skilled enough then you do not have to prepare as much as those with less ability.

Well… preparation beats skill when skill isn’t prepared.

Remember, the will to win is insignificant, unless the will to prepare to win accompanies it.

Preparation is flat out, another competitive advantage that you have absolute control over.

Two of the greatest QB’S the game of football have ever seen are Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson and both of them attribute their HOF success to their extraordinary commitment to preparation.

It was Wilson who coined the phrase, “The Separation is the Preparation.”

The separator is the knowledge and the confidence you get from preparation.

Preparation creates knowledge, and knowledge breeds confidence,

Preparation increases your situational awareness, improves your decision-making abilities (especially in high-stress environments when you may not have all of the information), identifies gaps where you need to do more work, and helps you identify where you can leverage your strengths to gain and keep the edge.

Preparation allows you to put a game plan in place that will help you achieve VICTORY at an elite level.

You are playing to win.

You are not playing ‘not to lose.’

Preparation takes self-discipline. Self-discipline never stops requiring you to exercise self-control and the self-confidence you gain from that is what will drive your self-realization.

Do you ever wonder why a team that is a significant underdog in an NCAA Tournament game can come out so confident?

They did not get more skilled overnight… the amount of time to prepare was the same as their opponents and every single person on the team knew what their role was.

Watching Illinois, who was a 7.5 point favorite, get exposed by a lesser talented Loyola team in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year was a clinic in what proper preparation can do… what a difference it makes and how it is absolutely gives a competitive advantage.

As a leader, it is paramount for you to take great pride in your preparation. Constantly looking to level up your leadership skills so you can maximize your ability as a coaching leader, to know what your team needs and to recruit the right talent to fit your culture, to establish the vision, mission, and goals for the team and yourself as the leader, to have your finger on the pulse of the market and industry trends, and to put your people in the best position possible to be successful.

Now, the performer needs to embrace the competitive advantage that preparation brings in the execution of their job duties, their career path, and their role on the team. Constantly looking for growth and development opportunities and learning as much about their industry, products, customers, and team members as they can.

When the team is collectively locked into preparation their cohesiveness goes to a whole new level. They share information, speak a common language, understand their roles and how they fit into the big picture and operate with a singleness of purpose.

When you have a coaching leader who has persistently prepared themselves and their team, and the individual team members have prepared themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally… incredible things happen and VICTORY at the highest level is more than attainable.

Preparation is the unseen grind that produces the biggest plays under the brightest lights, and it is very much like the Iceberg Principle.

How?

The strength of the iceberg is underneath the surface, unseen as only 10% of its’ mass is visible above the water.

Like an iceberg, the depth of your preparation is where your strength will come as you tackle challenges.

This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.