Stephen Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Effective People,” and “The 8th Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness,” teaches three guidelines for effective collaboration – read: TEAMWORK.

They are: 1) Establish your mission; 2) Set the ground rules; and 3) Identify each member’s strengths. Nothing new here. However, it recalled for me how the NFL officiating crew of seven, of which I was the “crew chief,” strived to be more effective (read: Perfect) on the field every game. See how these apply to you and how you can utilize them each day.

1) Establish your mission. My book “Impartial Judgment” could have been titled “’Cause I Don’t Care Who Wins.” The mission of each NFL crew is to officiate all 60 minutes of every game without prejudice and mistake-free! Does this put extra pressure on each member of the crew? Not necessarily. Pressure keeps one focused and can be managed when every one is prepared – mentally and physically. The questions are: a) did each one do his homework thoroughly by studying the Rule Book? And b) did everyone physically workout each day to be in game conditioning?

2) Set the ground rules. Each week, before the next game, every official – by himself, as well as with his crew, studies the game film of their previous week’s game looking for ways to improve. Each crew member must be honest to admit a blown call, a missed play, and that he was in the right position to make the call (called mechanics). Only when officials learn from their mistakes will improvement take place. These ground rules help the crew seek perfection. Another important ground rule is to be professional on the field, friendly and courteous, but not “buddy, buddy” with players or coaches.

3) Identify each member’s strengths. It is vital that each official is placed in an on-field position e.g. R, U, HL, LJ, SJ, FJ or BJ, which utilizes his physical and mental strengths to the utmost. While the major responsibility of enforcing the penalty for a foul, for example, is placed on the referee (white hat), it is essential for the effectiveness of the crew, and of course, for the game itself that every official learn, know and ensure that every penalty is properly enforced. And finally, while the strength of a crew depends on the strength of the individual, it is the willingness of each to help another T.E.A.M. member. Teamwork – call it chemistry – is crucial to the success of the game.

Will you practice these suggestions to help your T.E.A.M. move from effectiveness to greatness?

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Author's Bio: 

Jim Tunney had an exemplary career in sports. A former high school coach, teacher, principal and district superintendent, he had a 40-year career in officiating football and basketball. Thirty-one of those years he was an NFL Referee working a record twenty-nine post-season games including three Super Bowls, ten NFC/AFC Championship games, six Pro Bowls and twenty-five Monday Night Games. He officiated some of the most memorable games in NFL history. His book Impartial Judgment: “The Dean of NFL Referees” Calls Pro Football As He Sees It, chronicles his NFL career.
As a Professional Speaker, he is Past President of The National Speakers Association and a Charter Member of its most prestigious group – The CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame. Jim holds every professional designation of the NSA, including the Oscar of Professional Speaking – The Cavett. NSA named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2007.
Dr. Tunney (a doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California) continues to serve his community as a Trustee of both Monterey Peninsula College and York School; where he once served as Headmaster. In 1993, he founded the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation to support local community programs that develop leadership, work skills, wellness and self-esteem in youth. He and his wife Linda live in Pebble Beach, California. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.
As an author he has written and/or co-authored nine books: Impartial Judgment, Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul, Speaking Secrets of the Masters, You Can Do It!, Super Bowl Sunday, Insights into Excellence, Lessons in Leadership, Build a Better You and his most recent book, It’s the Will, Not the Skill.

Jim Tunney Associates
PO Box 1500
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California 99321