Joey Bosa does it in L.A. Brother, Nick, in San Francisco. If you’re a Browns fan, you watch Myles Garrett do it in Cleveland. And in 1985, when the Chicago Bears began rolling their strong side linebacker to defensive end, nobody did it with the ferocity of Wilbur Marshall. And by “it” I mean set the edge — and set it hard!
The first responsibility of each of these dynamic defenders is to set the edge by maintaining outside leverage and funneling the QB or the RB back into the teeth of the defense. A writer once described the Bears famed “46” defense as “sh-t hitting the fan.” It was Wilbur Marshall’s job to contain the ball carrier and make sure he hit the fan.
That sounds like an awfully nasty analogy for building into a leader and his team. But Chet refers to the BTL process as REAL. HARD. WORK. for a reason — it is.
I have a client who had been dragging his feet and taking too long to act on a decision he’d made long before. It was regarding an under-performer with a poor attitude toward improving and my client was delaying the inevitable with all kinds of flimsy excuses. For my part, I had let him get away with it for far too long. In the words of Lukianoff & Haidt, I’d been “coddling” him. Until he shared with me an excuse I found so far-fetched that I blurted out the same edge-setting response Chet had used with me countless times years ago — “I don’t believe you.” Pow! Right in the kisser (Believe me when I tell you, NOTHING cuts to the chase faster than someone you respect looking you dead in the eye and calling BS). And just like that, with only four words, the edge was set and the “bull” carrier was funneled back to middle. Back to the point. Back to the TRUTH.
There’s nothing fun about being called out. It doesn’t just hurt, it stings. It stings because the truth can feel like cold water in your face. But it’s that shock to the system, it’s that very wakeup call that frees us up to both face AND deal with the truth.
We as builders and you as leaders MUST set the edge because we must get to the truth. If not, clients and teams will just beat around the bush, going nowhere fast.
Want a stronger team? Be like Joey, Nick and Myles. Or better yet, Wilbur. Make a habit of setting the edge. Set it early and set it hard!