In week 4 of our 14 week series of a Leader in Every Locker, we focus on the leadership trait: Initiative.
We define initiative as taking action in the absence of immediate guidance or direction. If we share a common understanding of our goals and objectives, and regularly communicate to share and balance situational awareness, we should be able to make decisions independently and arrive at the collectively desired outcome. Initiative becomes all the more important as time compresses and stress increases.
Once the play is called and the teams align, it falls upon the players to make decisions and appropriate communication to execute the play. There are no coaches on the field on gameday. Initiative is particularly important in the early weeks of the season when we have little or no quality video of our opponents to prepare our players. Offensive linemen will see unexpected fronts causing them to communicate changes to blocking schemes. Receivers will see Safety rotations requiring them to convert routes. Defensive fronts will see unbalanced lines causing them to adjust ensuring all gaps are accounted for. Defensive Backs and Linebackers will see empty sets forcing them to ensure all receivers are covered. And Quarterbacks will see defenders out of position or receivers uncovered and must change and communicate the play. These actions must occur in near real time and with the knowledge opponents are attempting to deceive us (or at least mask their intent).
With only 3 timeouts per half, coaches cannot use one every time an opponent shows something new. Tying in previous traits/themes, we as coaches (as well as teammates on the field) depend (Dependability) on players to assess a situation, make good decisions (Judgement) and to take action in the absence of further guidance or clarification (Initiative).
Life demands the same… Successful people, regardless of role, have a bias for action and are willing to exercise the initiative to seize fleeting opportunities. It’s unlikely every decision or action taken will turn out perfectly, but the old adage, “a good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed later” certainly applies.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!