So I’m watching the Monday Night Football pre-game show last night. As much as I’ve always admired Brett Favre and the way he leads his teams, I’ve had enough of this guy’s off-the-field antics. Last night, it was Brett Favre this, Brett Favre that. Blah, blah, blah. How much will revenge factor into Brett’s performance? Who has more pressure on him, Favre or (Green Bay QB) Aaron Rodgers? All the ex-football players on the panel were talking about how pumped up they were for games against former teans and having a lot to prove. Blah, blah, blah.
But then Mike Ditka speaks: “Five hours from now, the only thing that’s going to matter is whether you won the game or lost the game. I don’t want to be (overly) simplistic, but that’s all they can think about. If the Pack wins the game, they’re 3-1 and tied for the division lead. If you’re thinking about anything but that, you’re crazy.”
Ditka immediately joined the Bulldog Simplicity Hall of Fame. He then got attacked by the rest of the panel (and probably by ESPN producers in his earphone).
Later in the evening, my wife and I are watching last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy on the Tivo (aka the greatest invention known to man). Once I got past the notion that the chief (who up to this point in the series has been a pretty sensitive guy) would actually e-mail his residents and nurses that they were being laid off (and then leave the building as they packed and left that night), there was a pretty nice ending that also reinforces the importance of focusing through distractions.
The doctors — all of whom appear safe from layoff — took their girlfriends/spouses (all of whom are residents in the same hospital, and we’ll skip over the workplace implications of that) out to a batting cage. After spending the episode worrying about their jobs (with apparently good reason), the residents wanted to get back to the hospital and do things that would prove their value to management — regardless of whether it was actually to the patients’ benefit. The doctors ignored them and turned on the pitching machine and started firing balls at them.
“Hit what’s in front of you,” said one of the doctors. “It’s all you can do in this situation.”
Good advice. This whole batting-cage idea might actually be a pretty good way for managers to snap their teams out of the funk that layoff after layoff (with the threat of more to come) has created. The real paralysis in the episode came from the unending talk about what was coming next and who was at risk and, well just like talk of Favre, it was blah, blah, blah.
What are you doing to keep your people on track amid all the distractions?