Attack is definitely the best form of attack

The best form of defence really is attack

We were all agog in July in anticipation of an England win in the World Cup. The fact that our chums across the Channel won it has detracted nothing from our boys’ heroics. New stars were born and our stellar goal-scorers, defending supermen and snappy waistcoats lionised.

Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, used a football analogy in a recent blog which brilliantly illustrated the benefit of developing an attacking rather than defensive mindset at work. Here’s my thoughts.

The defensive mindset

Defending is when we react and respond to what is happening in front of us. We don’t have to think as hard, move as much or make as many decisions because the problems come to us. Defending is housekeeping - responding to e-mails, attending meetings, nailing those urgent problems and tasks that give us a dopamine rush when we solve them. The trouble is that some of us stay in defensive mode all day. We respond to whatever the world has for us.

And when we move into attack…

Attacking is different. It is intentional, proactive. It requires us to think and plan, define our priorities and deliver. It means starting each day by reviewing projects and setting goals. It involves allowing the urgent but unimportant to go by the wayside, giving us more time to focus on the complex, critical initiatives that drive the business forward.

Anyone who plays a team sport will know that it’s more rewarding and less exhausting (and your chances of success are massively increased) when you’re attacking and scoring goals. The same is true at work. When you are attacking, you’re going forward, and you are energized. You want more. You go home each day with a sense of achievement and an enthusiasm for tomorrow. When you defend all day, responding to background noise and distractions, you leave work exhausted, wondering why you keep doing it and when you can get out.

Moving from defence to attack

How do you move from a defending to an attacking mindset?

One way to start is to have goals and objectives and make them visible, so you are continually reminded of your priorities and where you should be focusing your attention. Try shutting your computer and turning off your phone as often as possible. And disable the alerts - continually checking e-mails and messages is an attacking mindset killer.

You can try something different (radical) in the office.

Employees at Menlo Innovations*, the highly-successful US software company, share desks, with one computer between two people. Those two people will probably be from different departments. The result – barriers are broken down, understanding and connections between teams improves and the flow of ideas across projects and the business accelerates.

Two people, one computer? Sounds crazy? Menlo has grown by having an attacking mindset that allows people to focus their time productively, working (and socialising) with others who understand and share their goals and values. It’s intentionally social, and purposefully interactive. Their way of working encourages their employees to stay on task to deliver their projects on time, on budget and beyond all customer expectations.

Menlo has found that when you develop a team of great attacking players, the defensive details shrink in importance and the noise drops, giving everyone more time and making it easy for people to work together to deliver a great customer experience.

The old saying, “The best form of defence is attack” was never truer.

*If you want to find out more about Menlo, read Richard Sheridan’s great book Joy, Inc: How We Built a Workplace People Love or go to 

To find out more about Gazella, call Roger Davies on 07813-994556.