While the traditional Thanksgiving article talks about why you should be appreciative of everything you have, I’m going to go a different direction with it this year, to a Thanksgiving tradition unlike any other: The Dallas Cowboys.
Now, I know most of you are not Cowboys fans, so bear with me here, there is a point.
Living in Dallas, it’s impossible to miss the Cowboys. Reminders that this city is home to “America’s Team” are found everywhere you turn. When the Cowboys are playing on Sunday afternoon, supermarkets and malls in Dallas are ghost towns, while sports bars and living rooms are crammed full of people and terrible-for-you food.
At 3-7, this hasn’t been the best year for the Cowboys. Injuries have severely crippled an explosive offense, and exposed a very average defense. On the sideline, and in the locker room, there have been numerous incidents of “team leaders” blowing up and making a scene, frustrated at the season’s progress. While it’s hard to say that the team quit at any point, things were very clearly starting to unravel for the ‘Boys after seven straight losses.
I’m sure some of you can relate to this. A plant is losing money, maybe you’ve lost a couple of strong supervisors or a maintenance manager, and other plant weaknesses are getting exposed. People start to get frustrated and tempers start to flare. We’ve all been in situations like this or seen this happen when things get rough.
However, for the Cowboys, something finally turned around this past Sunday. The team finally got a win.
How did this miraculous thing happen?
Star, veteran Quarterback Tony Romo returned. Now, it’s important to acknowledge that Tony Romo is no one’s savior. In fact, most of the country can’t even agree if he’s actually a good quarterback or not.
He fueled both sides of that argument yesterday, too, throwing some awful passes and some great passes to finish the day with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
If he was that average, how did he inspire this change, though?
Simple: Romo is a catalyst for calm on that sideline. He’s a veteran presence who has an instant reassuring effect on the rest of the team.
There were no violent outbursts by immature wide receivers or controversial defensive linemen. There were no heads hung in shame.
The point of this whole bit about the Cowboys and Tony Romo is simple: sometimes all it takes to calm a terrible situation and under-performing plant is one calming voice to cut through the chaos.
If one strong leader can stand up, calm and collected, and tell the rest of the plant, “Hey, things aren’t going great, but we know what to do. Let’s take care of business.” That can have an incredible effect.
It’s not going to magically make everything else that has gone wrong right, the Cowboys defense still has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese, but it can be the first step in the right direction.
I encourage you all to do some reflection into your plants during your time off this Thanksgiving week:
For those of you in plants that are on fire, think about being that calming voice, rather than another angry one in the fray when things aren’t going well.
For those of you in plants that are running as smoothly as a corrugated plant can, be thankful for the leaders you have that keep you that way.
And while you all do that, I’ll be watching the Cowboys’ calming voice, Tony Romo, try to push them back into the playoffs.
On a final, unrelated note, I would encourage everyone to pursue a healthy life balance through these holidays. It’s important to remember that we don’t live to work, but rather, we work to live, so that our families can be happy and healthy.