Sean McVay, head coach of the St. Louis Rams, uses an unconventional strategy to combat a rarely-considered problem that faces every coach in the NFL: how to avoid running into the sideline referees. McVay, for his part, has figured it out--he employs a separate coach (the 'Get Back Coach') who does absolutely nothing except follow McVay up and down the sideline, moving him out of the refs' way when necessary. Take a look:

People will undoubtedly say that other [great] coaches don't need this crutch, so why should McVay?  That's called purism, an age-old philosophy that permeates every field from philosophy to comedy. Ever notice that the stand-up comics who do nothing but talk really despise the ones who use props? Same thing here. The bottom line, though, is prop comedians can still make us laugh -- and that's a win. 

For McVay, the youngest NFL head coach, a win means his team scoring more points, and that becomes increasingly likely with every added iota of focus that McVay can direct toward strategy, management, and emotional intelligence. 

Don't like the idea of a spacial awareness coach? I hear ya. But for McVay and the 13-3 Rams, what works, works. And this works. 

Will McVay always have, need, or want this kind of help? Maybe not. But for now, it's there, and why not take advantage? The future will hold opportunities to pivot and act in a different way. As long as it works, it works. And this works. 

What's interesting is that running a business is similar in a lot of ways. People will judge, patronize, and condescend toward entrepreneurs who are all about the newest software, the newest innovation, the newest marketing tactic. 

"Why can't you do it the way we did it before, with the same tools we did it with?" the legacy folk will complain. 

But there's a huge difference in being different for the sake of being different, and being different because it works

And at that point when it stops working, or becomes inefficient, or is unscalable, then you no longer do it. 

Until you stop winning more than you're losing, stick with your current strategy. Or, in plainer terms, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Published on: Jan 24, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.