On February 1, 2015, in Super Bowl 49, Seattle Seahawks head coach Peter Carroll made a fateful decision that has been recorded by just about everyone (who’s not a Patriots fan) who has a comment on it as not only a bad decision, but possibly the worst decision in the history of sport, or even in the history of decisions. But, was it actually a bad decision.
The Seahawks were trailing the New England Patriots 28-24 with 24 seconds left in the game. The Seahawks had the ball on the Patriots one-yard line on second down, with one of the league’s top rushers, Marshawn Lynch, in the backfield.
Carroll called a pass, and the rest is history. Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass, and the Patriots won the Super Bowl, preventing the Seahawks from repeating as champions. Carroll has been lambasted for the decision, often referred to as the worst decision ever made in the history of sports. Yet, the reality is the decision was quite good given the context of the situation and the probability of outcomes. (Don’t argue, it was a good decision and if you still believe it’s bad, read Annie Duke’s book Thinking In Bets to understand why it's not.)
The reaction to Carroll’s decision is a perfect example of a common term used among professional poker players - resulting. Resulting refers to the action when a poker player creates too tight a relationship between the quality of the outcome of decisions or actions that are taken vs. the quality of the decision, at the time the decision is made. In essence, resulting is the act of judging every decision by looking in a rearview mirror.
The world of sales has a big resulting problem that it must address to address a number of vulnerabilities that are dragging on business performance.