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The RATTLESNAKE!

It was a typical Wednesday morning.

I was jogging on our ranch in West Texas.

Jogging is not something I enjoy, or even do much of.  

I was “training” for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. That’s a story for another day.  

On this Wednesday, I was jogging on a very familiar road on the ranch.  It was my usual route.  

The weather was warm. The sky blue and everything was wonderful.

Wonderful, that is, until I encountered the...

RATTLESNAKE!

But this was not an ordinary rattlesnake!

This rattlesnake was HUGE!

Had I not been paying attention to the terrain, I would have stepped on the snake! Thankfully, I saw it.

And I froze in my tracks...

... and waited until it slithered its huge self away.

Suddenly

Suddenly I was physically ill. I was nauseous and shaking.  

I was sick from the sight of it.

And how HUGE it was!

I'm telling you, that snake may have been the biggest rattlesnake in West Texas!  And there’s lots of rattlesnakes in West Texas!

And I was sick because I realized that I had, unintentionally and unnecessarily, put myself in harm’s way.

I knew better than to go anywhere on the ranch without a gun. 

EVERY other time, on previous jogs on the ranch, I ALWAYS carried a loaded gun.

I really mean EVERY time!

I knew I needed to do that to kill a rattlesnake

or a coyote or wild hog that may happen to cross my path.

I had always been very disciplined and diligent in this.

Until this particular Wednesday.

Why?

Why was I not disciplined and diligent today? I certainly knew better.

What was the difference today?

It’s simple.

Because I hadn't encountered anything dangerous in a long time, I had gotten careless.  And wouldn’t you know it, on that day; the ONLY day of not following the plan…

I encountered the RATTLESNAKE!

What about  you?

Are you as disciplined and diligent as you were when you first kicked off your project?

Is your team?

It’s a natural tendency to focus on doing things well when we first start something.

You clearly define the purpose and objectives of the project.

You make sure you communicate and keep your team informed about project accomplishments.  

You ensure alignment among team members.

You clarify roles and accountabilities among stakeholders.

And for months the team enjoys a steady series of successes.

Lulled by the successes, you unknowingly and unwittingly allow your discipline and rigor to take a back seat.

UNTIL you encounter THE RATTLESNAKE!

It starts with small deviations. So small probably no one even recognizes that it’s happening.

Then small deviations become moderate deviations.

And moderate deviations morph into …. Well, more than deviations! More like departures.

Until suddenly, as if out of nowhere, you encounter the RATTLESNAKE!

But it really isn’t out of nowhere...is it?

It’s essential you make sure you aren’t getting lax in your disciple and diligence on your project.

So, right now, I want you to take 8 minutes to do that.

8 minutes is all you need.

Take out a pen and piece of paper. Or better yet, do this on a whiteboard in your office.

Identify the 5 most important areas or aspects of your project in which discipline and diligence is essential.

Imagine you are an independent auditor and you’ve just done a thorough examination of your project.

You’ve turned over every rock and looked in every crevice.

Now, rate each area on a scale of 1-5 (one being poor and 5 being terrific).

What action do you need to take to bring each area to a 5?

That’s it for today. Be bold and make EXTRAORDINARY things happen.

Today.

See you soon.

Sally

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