Half-time 2020

June 22, 2020

By Phil Ransom

“Just get us to half-time so we can regroup and give this another shot.” 


Been there?  Me too.  Your team can’t buy a point, it seems. Too many missed passes. Turnovers. Out-scored. Fouls and penalties undo what would have been nice. Injuries.

We hate when it happens; things go wrong in the first half and it gets ugly.

“Just get me to half-time!”



Today, June 22nd is the mid-point of 2020. The first half is behind us. Some were in the right place at the right time earlier this year and business has been remarkable for them, but most of us took a major hit late in quarter 1, certainly in quarter 2 of this calendar year.

Today is half-time, you might say. What happens at half-time?   Four things. We:

    1. assess
    2. catch our breath
    3. adjust
    4. commit to executing the adjustments

Half-time doesn’t last very long, but if you’re the team that’s behind, what happens at half-time can turn certain loss into a win.



It’s vital to remember as you assess things, that you can’t change anything that’s already happened. What’s done is done. Everything up unto right-now is a given. “If-only” has no place in this conversation. While it’s good to identify patterns and mistakes that will harm you again if repeated in the 2nd half, to wish things were different is wasted energy.

Where are you right now?  How far behind? What looks possible? Probable? What things were this-close to closing when decisions made elsewhere impacted your operations? Assess individually, as a team, company, and as an industry.  All are valuable.

While it sounds a bit ridiculous at first, it’s true that “Even the best map available is worthless if you don’t know where you are.”  Where are you?


Catch your breath.

You might be reading this and thinking, “It only took me a week, to catch my breath, I’m ready to go.  I HAVE been!”

Physiologically, that’s probably true. It’s a good idea to also catch our emotional, professional, and relational breath.  Remind yourself what’s important and why, who’s important and why, that your core values are still important (and why). Acknowledge what changed out-there that impacts those core values —if anything— and take a deep breath.

How are your sleep patterns? Are you getting enough rest? The right kind? Will your diet & exercise habits fuel you rather than deplete you in this next half?  Good. Let’s go!



This, to me, is the hardest of the four half-time actions.  I hate admitting that what I planned late last year anticipating this year’s wild, crazy-ambitious, we’re-going-to-surprise-some-people goals — didn’t happen.   You don’t understand!  I decide once and then I execute. Change isn’t supposed to happen – not to me!
Well, it does.

I remember calling my mentor, “I need to re-tool a couple of things in my department,” I said, “and I’m wondering, what things should I know and do at this juncture so I don’t have to do this again in 18 months?”
“Stop right there,” he said.
“Oh-oh, what?”
“You’re dealing with people. They grow and get better. Some choke. People move away, people move in, people join your team and you find you have resources you didn’t have a month ago.  That’s what ‘dynamic’ means.  Keep aiming for excellence, always, just remember that it’s dynamic.”
“Thanks. I think,” I said, and we laughed,

This year’s half-time adjustments will influence your business game plan. It may even make the difference. I hope so! But you’ll likely make a series of adjustments as this second half of the year unfolds because this is undoubtedly a dynamic, fluid setting.

What does your audience need from you?  More? Different?  Focused?  Adjust accordingly.
What leads and prospects still show promise but you’ve not spoken lately, thanks to all this?  Find out.  (I’ll give you a hint: Call them. You can learn more in a 2-minute phone call than from taking 20 minutes to craft a clever email that they may or may not answer.)
How are your clients and customers doing?  Find out. Adjust accordingly.

I’m seeing some stellar examples of good adjustments, you probably are too. Yours should be a team that’s adjusting, knowing why the change-ups.


Commit to executing those adjustments.

While I wasn’t in the locker room, that day, a good friend of mine was. The small college basketball team was seriously behind and the players retreated to the locker room at the half, their tails between their legs.  Coach followed the embarrassed athletes and stood at one end of the locker room while one by one, his guys turned to look at him, the absence of his smile painfully evident.

“I know you boys are expecting me to yell. Ream you out. But we’ve all seen the scoreboard, there’s no need. All you need to know is that our mistakes last half were avoidable. We drill fundamentals all the time. But it’s like we left them on the bus or something. You know them. Take a minute and review them in your mind — now.”

He gave them time.

Eventually, his deep, authoritative voice gently broke the silence.  “What I need to know is ‘how badly do you want this win?  More than they do?’”

Another long, awkward silence.

“When you’re sure you want it more than they do, I want you to slowly, silently, stand. Full height. “I WANT it, Coach. – Enough to play smart ball. Execute.  No frustration – flagrant fouls.

When you’re ready, when you’re sure. Stand up. Slowly.”

One by one they quietly rose and stood at attention, the room silent but for the cadence of their heartbeats.

At the assistant coach’s signal that it was time to go, Coach said, “Short shoot-around now. Get your hands on a ball. Shoot five of your favorite shots, five free throws. I’m expecting 80-100%. Then come to the bench.”

When it came time for the starters to take the floor, they huddled up expecting his usual last-minute instructions.  Not this time. “You know what you’re doing,” Coach said. “Prove it.”

Willing to adjust their individual thinking, determined to execute, committed to staying coachable–

They won!


June 23rd is the first day of 2020’s second half.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes or a couple of hours to assess where you and your team are mid-year.

Are you rested? If not, order yourself to bed early tonight.
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”  Vince Lombardi
Catch your breath. Fill your lungs with fresh air as the second half begins.

Strategically adjust whatever you’ve determined is needed without looking back. No “I wish that had worked.”  Don’t trip on something behind you.

Execute with precision and excellence. You know what you’re doing.

Prove it.

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