I recently attended a college football officiating clinic in Indianapolis sponsored by the Big Ten. Football officials traveled in from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Wisconsin to sharpen their rules knowledge, network with conference supervisors and start preparing for the 2023 football season.

Seems odd, doesn’t it? We just finished the 2022 season a few short weeks ago but football is a year-round sport these days. This is my 21st year as a football official and I have to tell you, each year is more fun than the last.

Bob Waggoner, an active NFL official and Big Ten Assistant Supervisor of Officials, was the keynote speaker Saturday. Bob discussed the Big Ten’s strategy to improve college football officiating and as I jotted down the details, I couldn’t help thinking there were parallels that you might find interesting. We want to matter to our customers.

Set Standards - A defensive pass interference in Indiana should be called the same in Nebraska. The criteria for a Targeting penalty is the same everywhere and should be called the same across the conference. The Big Ten is setting standards by which all penalties, fouls and plays are judged, making in turn evaluations and grading much easier for supervisors (yes – we do get graded each game).

Matter Principle #1 - We want to be more than a Professional Visitor. We want to add value to your business, be an integral source of knowledge, be a problem solver. There are enough people dropping off doughnuts and “checking in on you.” We are raising our standards across the board.

Be Consistent – Once you know and understand the standards, you can execute a consistent game plan. Coaches and players should expect a consistent product from football officials. There should be little variation from game to game, crew to crew. As officials, we really want to get the calls right every game.

Matter Principle #2 – The roofing distribution industry needs to “touch” our customers with consistency. Whether it be via an email promotion, a scheduled appointment from your sales rep, or even a monthly newsletter article from some guy named Todd…we want to make sure we are keeping you informed of market conditions, new products, and business opportunities. 

The Process is Bigger than the End Result – The training, film review, weekly rules tests, evaluations, fitness training, clinics – it’s all part of the process. Continuous improvement isn’t a one-time solution. If we focus on the process, our end result will improve as a result of the effort, not by accident.

Matter Principle #3 – I believe there is a formula to matter question. We can’t be consumed by the “End Result” (the sale) or we’ll miss the beauty of the process. We know many of the variables needed to matter but times are changing and so are the variables. If we are acutely focused on the process of mattering, I’m confident the End Result will be there.

I’d be curious to know what matters to you most. Drop me a line at todd.skaggs@becn.com and let me know.