On a Monday night a monumental disaster appeared to have taken place in front of millions of Americans live on national television. The debacle was an apparently blown call on the final play of the game. For the few who missed it, with the Seahawks down five and the clock ticking to zero, Russell Wilson, Seattle Quarterback, scrambled around and heaved one to the end zone. Golden Tate, who earlier had two potential TD passes slip out of his hands, shoved a defender to the ground and then leaped into the air. Green Bay’s Safety, M.D. Jennings, beat him to the punch, plucking Wilson’s pass from the pile and tumbling to the ground. Tate, in an act of desperation, reached around Jennings to put his hands on the ball too. To just about everyone watching, including one of the officials on the field, it was a clear interception. But the call? Touchdown! Seattle wins the Packers lose.
The President, the President wannabe, a former President and the Governor of Wisconsin all weighed in with their opinions. That night, the game was the #1 trend on Twitter. This event was clearly a cause for national concern. Who is to blame, the “replacement” officials of course!
The atmosphere after the game in the Green Bay locker room was reportedly disbelief and extreme anger. After all, this is one of the marquee programs in the most competitive sports league in the country. The Packers are used to controlling their destiny, doing things right and winning big. The players’ reaction? According to one report on the flight home the players debated going on strike or taking a knee on every play in upcoming games if locked-out officials didn't return.
Now this is not a sports column, and I am certainly not taking time to discuss the call or the pros and cons of union representation, but something is painfully obvious to me after reflecting on the game. Neither the players nor coaches have expressed responsibility for the loss. They only blame the officials. What an easy out! The officials did not permit a near record eight sacks in the first half against the Packers. By the way sports fans, the record is nine by the Giants against the Bears. The officials did not hold the Packers scoreless in the first half. Yes, the Packers did play well in the second half but it was too little, too late. The officials did not hold the Packers to a three and out on their last possession. Bottom line, the Packers played a miserable game setting up the last play.
The reaction is systemic of a lack of responsibility and represents a colossal leadership fumble. I wanted the Packers' coach Mike McCarthy to come forward and be accountable. His team was painfully under prepared for the start of the game. His leaders on the field did not hold themselves accountable for their individual performance. As a team sport, the players on that flight home did not call each other out on how they were put in the position they were in on that last play. How they respond the rest of the season will be the true measure.
How does this apply to the business world? Things beyond the owner’s control happen every single day. But the true leader looks inward to achieve success. Leaders clearly articulate expectations, work to train and provide the means for success for their employees. Leaders continually coach, correct and commend their people. Leaders do not make excuses, and most importantly, do not allow excuses to be the culture of their company. The opposite of an excuse culture is an accountability culture.
In his book, No More Excuses, Sam Silverstein asserts that accountability is a competitive advantage and is essential to success and is a distinguishing feature in a crowded competitive business world. Excuses weaken companies and people. Accountability, according to Silverstein, begins with personal accountability to yourself. What behaviors are you modeling to the people you have asked to follow you; accountability or excuses? This is your Monday Night Football game, don’t fumble!
Russell Lookadoo is the HR Guy for small businesses. His firm, HRchitecture, specializes in helping business leaders accomplish their goals by effectively using their teams. Russell brings over three decades of experience designing Human Resources solutions that achieve business strategies in varied organizations ranging from a small manufacturer to the nation’s second largest bank. Russell holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources designation from the Society of Human Resources Management and earned the Certified Compensation Professional designation from World at Work. Russell attended the University of North Carolina on the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Industrial Relations. Visit his website at www.theHRGuy.biz