Slow the Game Down

If you follow sports at all, you have probably heard the term “speed of the game” in various contexts.  Normally, it refers to someone new to the level of play having to adjust to the speed of things happening around them (speed of other players, speed at which coaches communicate, speed of how the game is actually being played, etc.).  Although it now been many years ago, I remember having to adjust to that first varsity game speed in high school.  I can still recall how fast things seem to be moving, coaches yelling out direction at rapid speed, my not understanding half of what was going on, my being out of breath from just the stress, and really just wanting to get off the field and regroup!

I wonder if that’s how newer employees may be experiencing our work environment.  We take it for granted because we have been there for a while.  The speed of things may be natural for many of us reading this message.  However, that may not be true for so many today, as we are having so many new people introduced to our work environments. 

I also wonder if we, as leaders, need to focus on slowing things down!  Now, I don’t mean slow the equipment down and produce less product, but rather slow our approach to leading down and ensure we are taking the time to teach, coach, explain, answer questions, and really engage our employees.  So too often we bark out orders and just work at a rapid pace leaving little time to be leaders and invest in our people.  I wonder if we are really that busy, or are we just accustomed to operating at that pace.

When we push forward at a rapid pace, we set the tone for rushing in the work place.  We set the tone for acting before understanding.  We provide examples of working hard for sure, but at what cost?  Picture the results of the environment I just described.  We are much more likely to make mistakes that could lead to injuries, quality issues, reliability issues, or just disengage our people!

Hey, I get it.  We want to meet our daily goals and do well in our job.  I love the concept of “define the win each day”, “win the day”, etc.; however, we have to properly define success and realize that we won’t ultimately be successful by winning each minute at the expense of long term investment in our people.  For too long, I operated under the premise of success being defined by daily and/or monthly results, just to come in the next day/month and have to do it all over again.  Those days and months matter, but they are just mile markers along the path to help us evaluate how we are doing and make adjustments where needed.  The finish line is somewhere far out in the future. 

We want to hit those targets as often as possible and learn / adjust on those days we don’t.  There will be days on both sides of that spectrum, I can guarantee that for sure!  Don’t overreact.  Don’t get in a hurry.  Take the time to teach, coach, explain, answer questions, and really develop people.  We are in this game for the long term; not just today. 

Slow the game down for our people.  I think you will get more out of it too!  We will all like the results better, both in the short term and long term!

And yes, things did slow down for me after some time on the field.  With a little more practice time (training) and some help from others (mentoring / coaching), I rediscovered  that the game could be fun again. 

For a copy of the book “Leadership Basics for Success” see:  Blurb.com and search for the title.  I wrote this short book several years ago to be used in supervisor leadership development.

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