The Prevent Defense is Ruining our Economy!

Prevent Defense

Image by dakotaduff via Flickr

The “Prevent Defense” sucks. There is no polite way to say it.

Teams utilize the strategy because they’re AFRAID of giving up a big play, so they essentially concede short yardage on several consecutive plays at the end of the game. Their hope is that the other team will either run out of time or make a mistake. It is also one of my pet peeves.

Why? Because it’s based on fear. Coaches play prevent defense because they’re afraid of losing.

Whatever happened to playing to WIN?!

Now, let’s compare that to the mindset of the offense in that situation. They are determined to score. They have urgency. They have adrenaline. They know the other team is afraid. Confidence is high. Some level of progress is virtually assured. They’re attacking and taking shots at the end zone.

The prevent defense is for sissies. For the weak.

There are leaders throughout the business world who are acting like a bunch of sissies. They’re playing prevent defense and waiting for the economy to get better. They’re waiting for leaders at OTHER companies to start hiring before they take the plunge. They’re waiting for OTHER, STRONGER leaders to make investments and mistakes before acting.

If you are one of the strong leaders, I applaud your determination and will to win. You are creating hope and engaging your people in a successful future.

If you are one of the sissies, it may not be too late for you to make an adjustment. Your people are surely beat down. Morale is likely very low. Your office door is probably closed a lot. You may not walk the halls as much as you did in the good times, which is a shame because your people need you now more than ever.

IF you DECIDE to go for it, people will follow you. They truly do care – not only about themselves, but about your company, customers and co-workers. And just as important, they care about playing to win. That doesn’t mean you have to win at everything to engage your team. Set some targets. Pick off some low-hanging fruit and celebrate afterwards. Make sure people know that it will be hard but you’re going to do it anyway.

That’s how your company will weather this storm. That’s how strong and confident leaders approach business. They may not have all of the answers, but they’re action-oriented and play to win.

People will follow strong leaders. Will your people be following you or your competition? You make the call.


About Brian Williamson

I work with salespeople and leaders to get better results by taking a character-based approach. That means Executing by helping others Execute their priorities. I'm also the founder of Testimony & Tunes ( where everyday people share lessons learned through faith, and artists can share tunes that reflect their faith.


  1. Hey there is someone else out there that feels the same way. I dislike so much that even if a team I dislike is using it I get upset because 95% of the time I see it being used the team loses. This is because most of the time I notice it being used the team is up by 7 or less so the team needs a touchdown and they end up giving up a touchdown. Due to playing the softest defense in the world. Great post.

    • Ryan, thanks for the comment. I share your frustration to the point where my wife continually asks me why I watch sports if I get so emotionally invested in it. But that’s part of the fun!

      I get equally as frustrated seeing the same strategy employed in business and life in general because, as you’ve mentioned, the team playing it “safe” usually loses.

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