An underdog is a person or team usually in a sporting competition, who is expected to lose or fail and being a Sheffield United supporter I know what failing is all about, on Monday we lost on penalties to Nottingham Forest in the playoffs to reach the premier league, this was the 9th time we have competed in the playoffs and the 9th time we have failed, anyway time to stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with the blog post.
What is the underdog ?
The team, or individual who is expected to win is the favourite or top dog. The first recorded uses of the term occurred in the second half of the 19th century and its first meaning was "the beaten dog in a fight". In British culture, underdogs are highly regarded. This is because of Christian stories, such as that of David and Goliath, and also ancient British legends such as Robin Hood and King Arthur. Underdogs are mostly loved in sporting culture like Wimbledon FC & Buster Douglas as I talk about in the previous underdog blog.
What are the 3 laws of the Underdog ?
1, Stick to your principles / game plan
Sounds simple but Terrence Mckenna once said 'if you don’t have a plan, you become part of someone else's plan'. I guarantee that all successful underdogs have a plan and in the case of Wimbledon v Liverpool in the 1988 cup final had a plan, 'do whatever you can to upset Liverpool, hit them early and hit them hard, let them know you are there' just look at Vinny Jones tackle on Steve McMahan.
2, Take calculated risks
Nothing is achieved without some sort of risk, being in a comfort zone is more of a risk than actually taking a calculated risk. In the world of technology risks are all over the place, however we have never had as much data available to enable you to make calculated decisions. Not everyone's cup of tea but Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame said 'The biggest risk is not taking any risk, in a world that’s changing really quickly the only strategy guaranteed to fail is not taking risks'. I have to agree with him and that is why Simoda are alive today.
3, Understand your own strengths & weaknesses as well as your opponents
Most leadership teams in businesses across the world will do a SWOT analysis as part of their business management I would say it is a standard practice for any business, however somewhere underneath what the managers are telling the directors & the directors are telling the shareholders is the truth. Everyone loves to talk about what they are brilliant at but no one likes to hear what they are poor at. Weaknesses are in everyone's business but understanding what they actually are and doing something about it, however painful it might be is critical to improving business performance.
In relation to the Buster Douglas underdog story, Douglas was interviewed years after his famous win over Iron Mike Tyson regarding his career and he spoke about his losses, in particular a loss in 1987 to Tony Tucker, Douglas said 'Tucker was a good fighter but I made sure I learned from that experience' when discussing the Tyson fight he said 'I knew my weaknesses and needed to keep away from Tyson's strengths however the most important thing was that I needed to be in prime condition to have a chance'.
You could say that Douglas had to have a plan, take risks and understand his strengths, weakness and Tysons strengths & weaknesses, however Mike Tyson once said 'everyone has a plan until they are punched in the mouth'
Thanks for reading
Look forward to the next underdog blog where I talk about how Simoda helped the NHS in there time of need when the top dogs couldn’t.