Don’t give up the game until it is over


Yesterday I had a speaking gig in Cleveland.  

During the day, I found out that the Middle American Conference was opening it's 2009 NCAA conference tourney at the Quicken Loans center — right behind my hotel. I love a good game, especially March madness. I bought a cheap ticket, wiggled my way to a floor seat and settled in for the Akron/Toledo matchup.  

The game took a long time, and a few of the Akron fans behind me were really unruly and loud. One man behind me screamed at the Akron coaches, the kids and the refs. In that order.  With about six minutes to go, Akron was trailing by a dozen points and the kids on the bench were hanging their heads. Lowly Toledo was about to pull an upset.  

The jerk behind me screamed, "it is over!" and somehow I fell victim to his negativity. I decided that it was time to call it a night, so at 9:30 I made my way out of the arena to find a quick bite to eat. I've left games early countless times, and usually have a good nose for a blowout.  This time I was wrong. 

When I got back to my hotel room, I looked up the score online out of curiosity. Turns out the end of the game was a thriller (an overtime victory for Akron). 

When I got my coffee this morning, people in the lobby were talking about "how insane" the end of the game was. Yikes. I love nothing more than a thrilling game, and I missed it because I hit the exits too early. Instead of wallowing in this, I decided to derive a lesson from it: Don't leave the game until it is over — even if the jerks are telling you that it is over. 

This applies to your business life too. These days, the game looks like it is over for some of our customers and partners. Don't leave them, you might miss a thrilling turnaround and be rewarded for your stick-to-it-ness. Same goes for your company — don't split just because your team is behind in the second half.