Game On: Turn on Your Shot Clock

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you become more decisive. Reading time: 3:44

         It’s the NBA –the National Basketball Association—in action. Pistons vs. the Lakers. And the Pistons win, 19-18 in the lowest-scoring game in NBA history.

         a b shot_clockOf course that’s back in 1950,  four years before the introduction of the 24-second shot clock that changed the game of professional basketball and gave us all an interesting insight into effective leadership:

       Deadlines are Lifelines.

       Without a deadline –without a shot clock counting down that specific deadline to spark a specific action–both teams could stall the game and literally play by themselves, keeping the ball away from the opposing team.

         So players could in essence play catch with each other and frustrate their opponents until making the best percentage shot.        They had way too much time on their hands and did what comes natural in those circumstances—nothing.

       Until Danny Biasone stepped in. The owner of the Syracuse Nationals had enough of this pass-the-ball –around style of basketball. As a leader he wanted to see action.

     So in October 1954, Biasone invested and installed a 24-second shot clock where a team had to shoot the ball toward the basket within 24 seconds of gaining possession. The result was more scoring—93.1 vs. 79.5 points per game on average.

       A Syracuse_Shot_Clock_Monument_Close-UpThe mindset for the most effective leaders is a bias toward action as Tom Peters and Bob Waterman told us so many years ago in their book In Search of Excellence. Just check the history books:

  •        Ford’s first assembly line reduced the time it took to build a Model T from 840 minutes to 93 minutes.
  •        The Suez Canal saved 24 days of travel –and 4,400 miles — from Europe to India when it opened in November 1869.
  •       The Alaskan Highway was built in less than one-fifth the time it should have taken: 8 months vs. 5 years. All 1500 miles of it over 129 rivers and five mountain ranges were completed during World War II to guard against a Japanese invasion.
  •       Roman Empire’s General Pompey did in 80 days what was planned to take three years: sweep the Mediterranean Sea clean of pirates that threatened Rome’s food supply.

      Yet the focus on efficiency can be overstated. Then we feel a little bit like an Egyptian mummy: pressed for time. We are stuck between the clock and a hard place.

      And yet we joke about time. Like the sign in a busy office read: “I would love to have a nervous breakdown I just can’t find the time.” Another sign claimed sardonically: “God put me on earth to accomplish  a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind, I will never die.”

       We do lament with the wit who called procrastination the greatest thief in the world who is still at large. We do smile at a comedian’s hilarious insight on efficiency –like Steven Wright who said: “I have a microwave fireplace. You can lay down in front of the fire all night — in 8 minutes!”

       Even Ben Franklin –as a wily teen had a hilarious insight into the efficient use of time— while helping his dad box food provisions for the entire winter. Franklin said:  “Hey dad, let’s say grace over these boxes of food right now to save time have to say grace at each meal.

      But leaders are much more serious in wrestling the hands of Time. Even making a Second effort –at  intervals of 24– whenever they gain possession and actively seek to shoot and score in the Game of Life .

Today’s ImproveMINT

Turn on your shot clock to keep your leadership thinking
in mint condition.

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