You know the feeling you get when you are really good at something and you are in the zone? Everything around you seems to slow down and your focus sharpens. You feel invincible and it is a great feeling. But, it is not happening as often in the business world anymore.
We are so inundated with change, innovation, progress, noise, tasks, and people that it is becoming harder to find the leaders who are capable of getting into the zone. It is obvious by now that the game has changed for us. It is no longer what it was 25 years ago or even 5 years ago for that matter. So how do we adjust?
It takes some time and it takes some prep work. An analogy that I like to think about is the NFL. The speed of the game keeps increasing, new rules and regulations have changed the style of the game and the way it is played, but we are seeing a movement of young quarterbacks who are coming in and immediately making an impact. It is pretty amazing to watch.
Sure they are still making mistakes but they are learning on the job, and learning quickly, and nothing is more important than game day experience. It is what enables them to grow and get better in the league. They get enough time under their belt and the game starts to slow down for them. Literally. They learn to process and filter all of what is going on around them more quickly and you see their game rise to another level.
As we think about our own profession and how we develop talent, what can we learn from the NFL? How can we build enough relevant playing time along the way for our up and coming talent so that by the time they get into the big leagues the game has slowed down for them? We want them to be making clear decisions and in this environment they better do it quickly. They cannot delay, they need to learn how to process, interpret and react. And they better do it fast.
If we can teach them to get into the zone and help them learn how to exercise that muscle of their brain, we will inevitably slow the game down for them. And that gives us all a better shot at victory.