A few weeks ago, when watching football, I observed a team marching down the field with the momentum of several first-downs. After a few defensive stops, their fourth down decision was to kick a field goal with good odds of succeeding. However, before the ball was snapped, the left guard jerked ever so slightly, and a flag was thrown for False Start. The yards penalized pushed the team back for the field goal attempt, and the kicker missed from the farther distance, shifting the momentum to the opponent who won the game.

My mind kept coming back to that pesky little penalty, and how it altered the course of the game. One guy out of eleven broke a rule for a brief second, and the whole team was impacted negatively.

Whether you are a leader or individual contributor on your team, it is crucial to, by your actions, be an asset in moving your team toward the vision of your organization/department. When you do not bring your A-game to work, your false start penalizes the team by slowing down progress.

These behaviors could be:

  • Committing to an action in a meeting, then not following through
  • Missing a deadline that slows down a project’s execution
  • Not being clear on an expectation that leads to inaction or wrong assumptions
  • Not giving a critical heads-up when new information becomes known.
  • Not assuring capable back-up in case of absence
  • Getting careless with a safety protocol
  • Not confronting a small oversight or questionable comment that could fester into a conflict

If you think, “It’s not a big deal” when tempted to take a shortcut or to procrastinate a priority you are on a slippery slope toward danger–of hurting morale of the team, slowing down a team deliverable to a customer, or losing the respect/cooperation of people that impact your career and performance reviews.

Keep the ball moving, one play/day at a time, with your exemplary actions and you’ll keep Growing Forward!  Check out my local podcast The Tri-Cities Influencer on Facebook or at www.paulcasey.org for leadership and self-leadership interviews with local leaders.

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