Effective Self-Leadership – Success and Victory Are Only a Half Step Away

There is an old story about two men hiking in a forest. They stumble across a big grizzly bear and her cub. The story goes something like this.

Ray says to Bob, “That bear sure looks angry.”
“Yep,” Bob replies.
“That bear sure looks fast too,” says Ray.
“Yep,” again is the reply from Bob.
“We better run”, says Ray.
“Yep, on the count of three,” Bob says laughingly.
“Bob, what you laughin’ for you ole fool, we are gunna die!”
Bob replies, “I am laughing because I got a secret.”

As they are running, Ray turns and asks, “What’s the secret Bob?”

Bob smiles and says, “I don’t have to be faster than the bear; I just got to be faster than you!”

The secret that Bob possessed was that you must know what your goals are, know who your real competition is, and accomplish what it takes to stay a “Half Step” in front.

Bob understood the secret of the Morgan “Half Step Concept.”

Consider this, the difference in winning a Gold Medal and last place is usually measured in microseconds. In a 100-meter dash, all the sprinters are clustered together at the finish line. The race is so close that high speed photography is utilized to determine the winner. In the Gold Medal race, a half step can be the difference between the winner and last place.

At the 2006 Torino Winter Games, the tip of a ski decided the men’s 4 X 10 kilometer Cross Country Skiing Relay. After four years of training, a 40 kilometer course, twelve athletes on three different four man teams, all performing at the highest level, victory was determined by less than one half step.

Microseconds or micro-activities may determine the difference between success and losing at the Olympics Games, or in life. In fact, the secret to winning in most of life’s activities is remaining one “Half Step” ahead of your competition.

In business and life the same principle applies.

Consider a game in the National Football League. The difference between a receiver catching a pass for a touchdown and the ball being intercepted by a defensive player is usually one half step.

Eleven football players are accomplishing different assignments, i.e., blocking, running, and decoying. All with a common goal to get the receiver one half step ahead of the defender. The linemen, who may be physically distant from the play know that their receiver needs “one half step,” so they hold their blocks a little longer.

The quarterback fakes handing the ball to the fullback to make the defense believe that the fullback will run the ball. The fullback is the decoy. In the meantime, the receiver runs his pass route with discipline and precision. The quarterback knows exactly where the receiver will be at a certain time. The offense is all on the same page. They know when and where the quarterback will throw the football. The precision and coordination of all this activity is designed to give the receiver a “one half step” advantage on the defender.

The receiver is relying on his teammates’ activity so that he might gain a “one half step” advantage on the defender. All this teamwork is required to give the receiver the “half step” advantage he requires for success.

The team knows that one half step gained could be the difference between scoring a touchdown (six points) and losing possession of the football (zero points).

The concept is true for the defensive team as well. The defensive players understand the “half step concept.” The defensive players are all searching for a method to give their teammates a one half step advantage over the offense. If they can disrupt the offensive players, they can make the difference in the outcome of the play.

The defense understands, if the quarterback’s pass is intercepted and returned by a defensive player for a touchdown (six points) this is a point swing of twelve (12) points. The offensive team not only failed to achieve its goal (six points), but the defensive team scored six points. These points, perhaps caused by a half step difference, could determine the outcome of the game.

What does this have to do with your business?

Like a football team your organization has multiple parts and many people working together as a team to achieve goals and reach organizational objectives. You have many different individuals all accomplishing various and different tasks but relying on each other to accomplish goals. Each individual, no matter how far “away from the play,” must understand that they must contribute their part if the “half step” advantage is going to be achieved.

Your business is a team and everyone from the leader to the lowest employee must understand the goal. Whether that goal is selling used cars or making widgets, everyone must understand that gaining “one half step” on your competition must be accomplished. This requires that EVERYONE in the organization develop and possess the attitude, skills and knowledge to be the best. They must accomplish the difficult tasks required to achieve goals regardless of the setbacks or the difficulty, but most importantly to stay one half step ahead of your competition.

An extreme position? Exaggerated? Are we being too tough on you?

Well what do you think about a half step now? It is a larger, often elusive and more important advantage than you thought? Think about this…How many times have you missed opportunities or been defeated by challenges? You may have accomplished everything expected of you, but still came up “one half” step short of achieving your goals.

Worse yet…you probably did not know what happened and the reason you came in second place. You lost because you simply did not understand the nature of competition, pay the required attention to detail, and were ignorant of the “half step concept.”

Nicole Thomas

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