I've watched the great athletes over the years in times of great intensity go to their "zone" where everything seems to be in slow motion. In watching interviews and hearing them speak about these great moments, whether it's a 9th inning home run, or 50 yard touchdown pass as time expires, or game winning goal in the last seconds of game 7 of the Stanley Cup, they talk about things slowing down in their mind. Even though there may be chaos and bedlam going on around them, they are, as Stuart Scott says, "cool as the other side of the pillow." Same thing with Golfers- Everyone from Phil Mickelson to Tiger Woods always seem more precise and take much more time when the pressure is on, vs the natural tendency to want to speed everything up and get through it.
Heroes like first responders or Emergency Room doctors would probably attest to the same thing. When things are chaotic and out of control, their response is to slow things down.
So what do we do as leaders during times of great intensity, pressure, or the final hour? A couple of thoughts:
1. always over-communicate, and make sure things are clear.
2. speak clearly, breathe deeply, and move purposefully.
3. be methodical and calm, not intense and short.
4. list out the priorities so as to not be overwhelmed by the small things that seem to be incredibly urgent, but really aren't.
5. Seek out quiet moments for prayer, reflection and thinking. During times of pressure, that is when we need those quiet moments the most.
6. stay focused. resist the urge to let things slip or just settle for something average because of the pressure to get it done. Keep your standards and levels of excellence at their highest- don't compromise.