Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Time To Celebrate?

This past Sunday, 114.5 million viewers watched one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history. In the midst of the drama, there was a lesson to be learned.

When the Seahawks had the ball on the 1-yard line of the Patriots with about a minute left in the game, a touchdown and a victory for Seattle seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Television cameras looking at both sidelines appeared to confirm this – the New England sideline looked stunned and morose while the Seattle sideline was jumping up and down joyously.

But sometimes in sports, celebrations take place a little too early.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

If you don’t know by now what happened next during Sunday’s game, then here’s a hint: when the final whistle blew, it wasn’t the Seahawks who were celebrating. They got a little too excited a little too early.

The tendency to celebrate prematurely isn’t only something that happens in sports. We all probably have a memory of our lives of when we got excited about something before it actually happened, and the lingering memory of how crushing it felt when it didn’t come to be.

It happens at organizations like Imagine! as well. Because of the nature of what we do, however, we must be extra vigilant in guarding against the thinking that something is completed when it really isn’t. We offer services for real people with real challenges, and we can’t afford to celebrate success too early.

Whenever we implement a new program or change the way we do things, we must make sure we “close the loop.” We must review what we have done and explore what we still need to do. We need to continually ask questions such as “Is this the best we can do?” or “What have we learned?” or “What needs to be adjusted?” or “What’s new and better?”

This process needs to be built in whenever change is occurring, and it needs to be continuous. In our field, very little remains static, and the answers to questions such as the ones above questions will likely change over time. If we’ve already celebrated, we may miss those shifting answers and environmental factors, to the detriment of our organization and those we serve.

 Time will tell if the Seahawks will recover from their heartbreaking defeat, or if they will heed the warning about jumping the gun when it comes to celebrating. There’s no reason we at Imagine! can’t learn and apply that lesson immediately, however. We just need to be careful not to host any congratulatory parties when we do.

Then again, what do I know?

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