The idea of sports and war used as references in business, being a victor in war or sports, winning and beating the other team is often used. In the context of defense and offense, just like in sports, when you are in the offense team, you will do everything to get a score or a goal whereas if you are in the defense team, you do your best so the other team can’t reach or be near the goal and to turn the ball game around and be on the offense team. Both team’s goal is to score points and eventually win the game. Josh Melick’s insight on playing more offense than defense in the business.
Josh Melick says that in business, it is not always clear if you are on defense or offense. Sometimes you are on offense, sometimes on defense. Every player will take turns in doing both. Problem-solving techniques by experiment, especially trial and error, are essential. It is important that they are aware of which department in the business needs to play offense or defense and if they are sure about the job that we are giving to that particular department. Comparing offense and defense, they must try to lean more on the offense side.
There are several departments in a business that plays offense, as Melick advised, one of which is the Sales and Marketing department which aims to sell materials and make conversations towards the business advantage. To inform customers that the business matters by using a story line that will make them move to your lane like the greatest sales desk as an example.
HR or the Human Resources department can be in the defense team as it protects the company and employees by keeping things working properly, making sure that things are fair, no harassment, and defending claims that have been raised. The above-mentioned are important factors but are secondary to HR’s real goal.
HR can be on the offense side as well. They can play a big role. Employees are your “team” which makes them your advocates, says Melick. If employees aren’t happy so will the customers. Looking for the best players is part of the recruitment which is considered an offense. Company benefits are also on the offense side hence best companies provide the best benefits.
Legal Department, don’t just defend the company, patent troll is a negative and extreme example, Melick said that as a CEO, when do you attack? Nobody wants a lawsuit. For patent trolls, a lawsuit is their offensive tactic that is why the business’ lawyers and lawsuits are tools, not just for defense but also for offense. Melick sighted the book A Promised Land, Obama recounts as he challenges his competitors’ nominations in his first Illinois senate campaign for not having enough signature, the challenge worked for him even if he was not sure if he “played dirty”.
In conclusion, Melick advised that all departments in the business can play offense. Sales and Marketing, HR, Legal team, and even Customer support. Make programs that do offensive scores more than defensive goals to win and beat the opponents.
Josh Melick, co-founded and is the CEO of a venture-backed technology company Broadly, a company that helps small businesses on how to build their tools for effective communication with their clients and has already raised more than $20M. An engineer by profession, Melick has been with AT&T and Intuit in the executive leadership department.