This week has seen the death of Sir Bobby Robson, a very successful football manager in the UK.
He was successful because he created teams that were capable of doing the job once they crossed that white line.
Managers can only do so much and then they have to leave it to the capabilities of those in the team.
In sports, there is no contest – they have to trust in their people, because they cannot cross that white line instead of their people.
In business, it seems to become blurred, with many managers being so much part of the team that the key players feel unable to get the job done.
Managing is not the same as playing the game.
The best managers prepare their people for the skills they bring and then deploy them such that they are left to get the job done – or, to follow the football analogy through, to win the game.
Sir Bobby Robson, as with all the great sports managers recognized that once that white line is crossed, all the preparation work done has to be enough.
In sports, managers cannot do it for them.
In business, we would do well to look to the successful sports managers for the example that delivers.