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A Short-Term Focus Kills Team Morale

If you’re focus is right over the hood of the car, every pot hole you hit will feel like a crater.

Have you have ever driven in a city on a busy day? Stoplights, pedestrians, delivery trucks and construction workers keep our eyes darting from side-to-side. We go slow in order to focus on each immediate hazard in front of our car. Then suddenly—boom! You hit a pothole. It feels like a crater, doesn’t it? We get startled and raise our guard.

Now imagine being on an open highway. You can see down the road for miles. There may be other cars and hazard signs, but you are focused on the horizon. Now imagine hitting that exact same size pothole. It would barely register with most of us. Why? Because we are focused on something bigger and further down the road. We roll over the pothole and never touch the brakes.

In uncertain times, teams thrive when they focus on the good inside the big picture. When we focus on every small problem right in front of us, it can feel like we may never get out of a situation. We can feel stuck, frustrated and stressed. Why? Because we lost sight of the good we are working hard to reach.

As an officer in the military, a leader in the corporate world, a coach or trainer within law enforcement or businesses large and small—the teams who handle crisis better, are the ones who keep the big picture in front of them.

Two squads in the army handle the stress of a deployment differently. Two sales teams handle the anxiety of a change in the marketplace differently. Two law enforcement agencies handle the uncertainty of a local crisis differently. Why? Because one team is focused on the short-term and the other team can see how the small choices contribute to the wins found in the bigger picture.

There is always a bigger picture. There is always a bigger goal than only getting through the crisis of the moment, day or year. I do not mean to minimize the impact of anyone’s individual situation. Only, I seek to encourage you in the fact your daily tasks are contributing to something meaningful and with bigger impact than you likely know. Teams who keep this in mind, thrive. Much of the reason goes back to where they choose to focus.

The team with a long-term perspective has people who take initiative, act selflessly and exercise Positivity in the face of challenges. It is up to the people who are called to lead that team to set the example. After all, attitudes are contagious. We foster contagious Positivity on a team when the people on that team help establish and maintain everyone’s focus towards the impact and influence found in the big picture.

Dig Deep Questions:

  • What big picture can you focus on today?

  • How can you help your teammates focus on the big picture?


It is important to us for you to have an opportunity to exercise Positivity, not only individually, but together as a team. This is why we have created practice cards with scenarios. We invite you to discuss as a team what it means to exercise Positivity via our Coaching Cards.

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