Watching the conventions on the heels of the Olympics, I noticed a striking similarity in the commentary from the sports and news announcers. Both kept noting that contenders had to “stick the landing.” Individuals in both proceedings were judged on whether or not they had flawless execution.

In the business world, we don’t needed judges on the sidelines holding up score cards to tell us that we missed the mark dramatically; we have blogs and newsletters for this. This weekend as I caught up on current events two stories stood out as shining examples of poor execution.

In the first article, a managing partner left plans to take a dozen nonequity partners to another firm on the printer. D’oh! The incriminating evidence exposed the entire plan. Now the law firms are suing each other instead of increasing their PPP. Maybe the winner will successfully accomplish both.

In the second article, a top HR executive selected the wrong distribution list and instead of alerting only senior managers about the looming layoffs accidentally alerted all staffers. Whoops! Hope the Chief People Officer knows some people who can help her out of this disaster.

Even though we are not top athletes or political contenders, these cautionary tales remind us that simple mistakes can discredit us in an instant. Knowledge, discipline, and hard work are only the price of admission. As downsizing and layoffs abound it is imperative to remember to execute flawlessly, follow through, and always stick the landing!