Saturday we watched Mississippi State University (ranked #3) beat Auburn (ranked #2) 38-23.  According to the commentators, it was the first time two top five ranked teams have played in Starkville, and it was a good match up.  My wife had her State cowbell out and it was ringing!

Early in the game, they showed a shot of a white board on the Mississippi State sideline.  The coach had boxed off a corner of the white board so that it would stay up all game.  The box was titled simply “Get The Ball.”  Every time a player got a ball on a turnover, recovered fumble, or interception, they went over and wrote their number in the box (and seemed pretty fired up to do so!)

I immediately thought of what a great leadership move that was by MSU’s coach.  Make the objective clear.  You can’t score if you don’t have the ball – so get the ball.  If you’re not playing offense, you’re playing defense – so get the ball.  Every player had the same goal, and every player had equal opportunity to get to write their number in that box – if they got the ball.

Leaders, how clear are we being on what it means in our organization to “get the ball?”

Every employee, from the mail room to the front desk to the C-suite, should be able to define what a win is for them.  Every person on the team should be able to define what it means to “get the ball.”  If they don’t know that, it’s on us, leaders.  We have to make that crystal clear – every time, every day.

Communication is our responsibility – as is clarity.  As professor Howard Hendricks used to say often, “if it’s a fog in the pulpit, it’s a mist in the pew.”  If it’s not clear to the leader what a win is, what it means to “get the ball,” it’s going to be far less clear to those we lead.  Clarity of communication with regards to what a win is isn’t optional – it’s SUPER critical.  And we need to do the work – whatever it takes – to make sure that every person on our team know what a win is for the organization and how they can contribute to it. When they do, we need to have a way to celebrate that – a box they can write their initials in might not be contextually appropriate, but we need to figure out what is and make it happen!

How are you communicating what it means to “get the ball” to your organization?  How are you celebrating when a member of your team does “get the ball?”


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