• Kenneth E. Fields

7 Scaling Secrets - #4 – Know Your Surroundings (39 Year Old Goats and Peyton Manning’s Last Ride)


Peyton Manning’s last regular season game vs San Diego (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The San Diego Chargers were playing for pride on January 3, 2016. With a record of 4 wins and 11 losses, it hadn’t been the season that they had planned for. Their opponents, the Denver Broncos, had everything to play for. With a win, the Broncos would be the #1 seed in their conference for the playoffs meaning they could play every game in their home stadium.


After almost 37 minutes of game time, the Chargers led the Broncos 13 – 7 and the Broncos had turned the ball over 5 times. Brock Osweiler, who had taken the quarterback role after starter Peyton Manning was injured during the season, just couldn’t deliver in this game like he had in previous ones. It looked like San Diego’s season would end with a victory to propel them into the next season.


Suddenly, the crowd began to roar as the Broncos sent future Hall of Famer Manning onto the field. The 39-year old’s injured foot had kept him out of commission since November 15, but coach Gary Kubiak sent him in as the Broncos’ last hope. Manning led the Broncos on 4 scoring drives while the defense held the Chargers to one additional score. The Broncos had won the day and the #1 seed. They completed the season with a win in Super Bowl 50, Manning’s final NFL game.


Were the Chargers prepared for Brock Osweiler as the quarterback of the Broncos? The score of the game while he played would indicate that they were. However, what about:

  • the possibility that Manning might play?

  • the crowd’s renewed energy based on the veteran’s appearance?

  • the offensive line’s desire to step up their game for their leader?

This is a situation we often see with companies too. Their plan is clear, and they have list of tangible things that want to accomplish to move them in the direction of their North Star. However, they often fail to consider the competitive environment and how that might impact the plan they’ve spent time crafting.


That’s why we propose you spend time working through the external forces that could impact you. Who is competing with you…and who COULD compete with you in the future? How strong are your current customers and suppliers? Is there another product or service that could arrive to displace yours?


So, once you have a plan, take it and compare it to the external environment before implementing it. You may be able to avoid some blind spots and lead your team to victory!



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