What if Only the Coach Knows the Score, Time or Boundaries?

You’re the coach. It’s 4th and goal, with seconds left in the game. Your team has a decision to make – take a knee, kick a field goal or go for the touchdown? The problem is, they don’t know the score, time left in the game or boundaries. So they take a knee. Did you win or lose?

What if only the coach knows the score, time and boundaries?

American Football - Goal Line Stand

Too often we fail to ensure our people know the whole story.  We either assume they know the details or we think they do not need to know it. Then, at a critical moment in delivery, we are surprised by poor decisions.

When it comes to communicating with stakeholders, remember, if you’re not tired of communicating, you are not communicating enough. Excessive communication should be your objective. One way to help you ensure the team has all the details they need, is to consider the key elements of a game: Score, Time and Boundaries.


In any professional sport, teams are constantly aware of the scoreboard. You should always have the scoreboard in front of your team as well. How are you performing, relative to the competition?


Has the game just begun and you’re driving toward long-term benefits? Or, are you pushing to specific result by quarter-end and it’s March 15th? The football team needs to know how much time is left. Your team should know the same.


The rules of the game are the company’s priorities, budget and corporate values. A team can score a touchdown easily when there are no rules. Similarly, your team can achieve a goal easily with no fiscal constraints or ethics. Be sure they know your boundaries.

So your team is on the goal line, do they win or lose? The best way to ensure a win is if you tell them the score, time remaining and boundaries. It’s 4th and goal with seconds to go. Your team’s down by 2 points. Time to get in the huddle and communicate.

Question: What other critical communications should you give your team to ensure a victory?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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