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