Category: BLOG

What To Do When Your Lights Go Out

What To Do When Your Lights Go Out

Superbowl 47.  Stellar performances.  Great come backs. Manly squabbles on the field.  And yes, even a “lights out” moment that changes the energy of play.  During those 34 minutes, the coaches on both sides instructed their teams to do four things while they waited in half darkness.  What the coaches told them applies you personally and if you’re leading a team.

Superbowl 2013

  1. Accept that you’re not always control – The opposing coaches (who happen to be brothers) were frantically trying to get information about what was going on but knew that there was nothing they could do to change the situation.  They accepted the reality that sometimes stuff happens but to keep their focus where it needs to be.
  2. Keep your mind straight – Much of life is mental.  The coaches told their players to keep focused on what they were there to do – win the Big Game!  Coach Jim Harbaugh was overheard going from player to player saying, “Keep your mind straight!”  His players knew what that meant and they did whatever they needed to protect their thoughts from wandering off mission.
  3. Keep moving – Both sides of the field had players laying on the turf, stretching, squatting and jogging to keep limber.  The worst thing for any team in the middle of darkness is to let laziness and status quo slip in.
  4. Stay together – They were in groups as they waiting.  Talking.  Processing.  Looking over past plays.  But each team stayed together as they huddled under a half lit dome.  They kept encouraging each other by repeating the above three actions: Accept that you’re not always in control, Keep your mind straight, Keep moving.

That is what good coaching and leadership is about.  That is what teams do.  That is what makes for success in the midst of darkness.

Peace!

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2 Principles on Being an Excellent Leader

2 Principles on Being an Excellent Leader

I’m forty-something years old (really, I’ve forgotten the number) and somewhat confident in what I can do.  The ref was still wiping Cheerios from her bib but she was the one the league chose for my daughter’s volleyball game.  I’ve line judged for games before, many times in fact.  But this youngster ref wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing.

So a few minutes before the game she pulled me aside and “quizzed” me on my flag motions.  In front of a crowd, she said, “Ball is in – what do you do?”  I casually pointed my flag diagonally to the ground.  She shook her head.  She wanted a sharp, intentional movement.  I had to do it again.  Then another move.  Then another.  It was rather embarrassing being schooled by this toddler in front of my peers.

During the game however, it dawned on me that even though she was young, even though she took time to make sure I “got it – the right way,” her insistence on excellence made me a better at what I was doing.

Here are two lessons from my experience that can help your leadership:

  1. Work with your team to be excellent, even though it’s uncomfortable at first.  Those few moments of being uncomfortable paid off when I needed to perform.  Don’t be afraid to practice excellence with your team.
  2. Make adjustments and corrections along the way.  During the time-out’s, she would tell me if the angle of my flag wasn’t quite correct when I made certain calls.  Little corrections makes for excellence.

In the end, my daughters team won.  And so did I.  All because of a young ref who wanted this old-time-line-judge to be the best.

Question:  How have you become a more excellent leader?

Peace!