What Moves Us

Spark Your Team Into Action Today

Follow the One-Inch Rule

Have you ever heard of the one-inch rule? It means that stopping one inch short of your goal is just the same as never starting. It means that you are laser-focused and present until the very end, and you are not going to lose sight of your goal or stop until you have crossed the finish line. You follow through, without compromising and regardless of what else is going on.

How often do we lose focus in that last inch? You’re almost there, and it seems you can coast across the finish line. But you can’t! A NASCAR or Formula 1 driver keeps their foot to the floor until the finish line is crossed. A champion marathon runner puts as much effort into that last stride as they do the first. A winning golfer is just as careful lining up their last putt as their first. You get the picture…the end is just as important as the beginning.

Your team may have worked for the last five months on a project and in the last week, the team loses momentum and nearly disbands. Don’t let that happen! Do whatever it takes to keep holding on to the gains you’ve made and rally your team forward for that last inch. As a leader, it’s your job to spend time encouraging and motivating your team to follow the one-inch rule. The end is in sight!

I’ve often felt that the media has it wrong when they cover a story. Press covers the beginning of things – ribbon-cuttings, campaign launches, factory openings, or whatever. There are banners and balloons and lots of enthusiasm. But the media rarely gives as much fanfare or attention to the end of things – closing out a project, keeping a team together for years, or successfully meeting milestones. Don’t believe me? Try getting your local media to cover the fact that a manufacturing plant has gone one year without a workplace injury. They’re far more likely to cover the opening of the newest fast-food outlet.

So that leaves it up to us. As leaders, we need to be cheering folks who follow the one-inch rule. The ones who keep moving forward until they cross the finish line. Those teams who commit to taking this goal or project through that last inch, no matter what happens. Let’s favor finishing over starting, and winners over the beginners.

Stay Sharp, 

Holly Hayes, President & Founder
ISI Consulting

Breathing With Sandpaper?

Everyone on your team needs oxygen. I’m not talking about air to breathe, silly, but space and time to rest, recover, rejuvenate and restore ourselves. Different team members may require very different activities to “breathe.” For some it may be binging on Succession or Yellowstone, or going to Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. Others might recharge by biking, cooking or golfing. I find that going down a fast hill on my bike gets my heart pumping in new ways, and I’m often more creative the next time I sit down. Your recharge activity may be completely different – you be you! If we are solely focused on work and only work, we are going to exhaust ourselves, and quality will go down drastically.

As leaders, encourage your team members to find their oxygen. With so much turnover in the workplace, it’s paramount for team members to breathe. It’s easy to become solely focused on work, and that’s the perfect recipe for exhausting ourselves and diminishing the quality of our work. Remember that job satisfaction – and retention – is closely linked to a sense that your team members’ work matters, and their time and talents are appreciated. Don’t let your team members become one-dimensional…where all they do is work, go home, then wake up the next day and do it all over again. That’s a spark-killer for sure.

I’ve spent the last month building Pinterest boards for redecorating our living and dining room. My oxygen has come from painting bookcases, looking at different pillow and rug samples, and scoring the greatest find at the local antique store. Our blue-and-white living room has allowed me some time to engage my mind and heart in a new way. And I think both home and work are going to be better for it.

I’ve recognized that while sanding the wooden bookcases, I’m able to stop thinking constantly about whatever is going on at work. My eyes and mind are solely focused on the wood and the 80-grit sandpaper I’m using (and the muscles that are hurting that I never knew I had). This little reprieve from work has helped me BREATHE. It provided some much-needed rest and actually rejuvenated me. Not to mention the very attractive set of bookcases I’m going to have when it’s all done!

Encourage your team members to enjoy their time away from the office. Find what helps them breathe, and then make sure they take time to actually do it. In fact, if they need a little extra push, something that pertains to their favorite activity makes great birthday or holiday gifts. Personally, I’m hoping for an electric sander.

Stay Sharp, 

Holly Hayes, President & Founder
ISI Consulting