Reporting to training camp for NFL players marks the beginning of the new season. If you’re a fan, whether it’s Pop Warner, high school, college or the pros, you have either heard or maybe even yelled, “Throw the flag, ref!” when you see an illegal block, blatant unsportsmanlike conduct, or some other infraction by a player.
People at sporting events are always yelling at the refs, some with great zeal and passion, while others don’t waste their breath because they think they can’t be heard (and in most of today’s professional stadiums, this may be true).
Why is it then when we’re in a company or departmental meeting, nobody yells, “Throw the flag” when people continuously break the rules? We’ve all been in meetings where people are late, talk over one another, interrupt, repeat what someone already said, nod off, or play with their smartphones. Wouldn’t it be great if you could say “throw the flag” when someone breaks a rule and causes your meeting to go off-track (no need to yell here, we’re not in a stadium full of crazed fans)?
My clients have been taught to use a tool called the “Level 10 Meeting” to use as a guide to run their meetings. They also have been taught to call out “Tangent Alerts” when the meeting gets off-track. I recently attended one of my client’s L10 meetings and got a good laugh when I heard someone yell, “Squirrel!” when the discussion on an issue they were dealing with went off-track. I didn’t notice until that point that they had a stuffed squirrel sitting on the corner of the table serving as a reminder to everyone to follow the rules and call out Tangent Alerts.
So, when you’re in your next meeting and someone breaks a rule, “throw the flag” and keep your meeting on track!