It was one month ago today that "divine intervention" sent a rain storm to Cleveland, Ohio right around midnight to give the Chicago Cubs 18 minutes to regroup, refocus, and regain their mojo as a team of destiny. The 30 minutes prior to the rain delay saw yet another Cubs' Collapse, and those of us who had watched this all before had that sinking feeling. The momentum had shifted to the Indians and we were doomed to say yet again, "Wait 'til next year." But alas, the Gods intervened, sent rain which created an 18-minute delay and,thanks to the wisdom and leadership of Jason Heyward, the Cubs came back on the field ready to play and (drum roll please) won the game to become World Series Champions.
Most leaders do not get to experience such a divine intervention and need to create their own "rain delays" so that their teams, their organizations, their families, or even they are able to regroup, refocus and regain their mojo in the midst of a crisis. So how might leaders do that? Here are a few thoughts:
- take time out to remember the positive things that have been happening in the midst of tough time...they are there, but are often not in the current focus of the group
- send people home for the day - or at least out to a long lunch...trying to solve the problem in the midst of the daily swirl might not be the right answer at the time
- call in a consultant who can look at things differently than everyone else is...having an outside set of eyes may make the problem or crisis seem not as bad as first thought
- laugh...there is almost always some humor to be found. And if it can be found, take the time to talk about it and laugh until you cry.
- have a pep talk with the team...following the move of Jason Heyward, do not let people go off by themselves and sulk...call them together, remember the good things you have accomplished, reiterate the issue at hand, and then get back to work
- time your decisions well...when everything else is falling down around you, the timing of the next decision or change is critical. Just as in trying to hit a baseball, the paradox exists of timing is everything and swinging away.
- sleep on that idea...most tough situations do not need to be solved immediately. Make sure you and others in the organization can have some flexibility built into the decision making process
Creating one's own rain delay can seem counter intuitive...leaders are taught and expected to act quickly (and are often rewarded for that type of action). Consider what your internal voice is telling you about creating a rain delay and whether or not you will be able to make the decision when called upon. If not, who else can you ask on your team to be the umpire who, despite what any one manager or player wants, makes the call on the next rain delay for your team or organization.