The Surprising Similarity Between Sports And Productivity

Here is one of my favorite comics:

Forget about the sports for a second.

Have you ever heard this kind of talk in your work?

Let me try to translate a bit into “office-speak.”

”Well, Bill, we want to make more sales but we keep calling and no one is getting back to us.”

(The symptom is presented but there is no effort applied to figuring out if the problem is rooted in the quality of the leads, the script of the cold call, or how well the product solves the need of the customer.)

Or how about . . .

”Franks report says we need to execute more proposals this week. I guess we’d better keep calling and sending our emails.”

(Here, the goal is vaguely defined–“more” isn’t a good goal, and working more hours is not a sustainable solution.)

There are two main mindset problems that led to these examples:

1. There is no investigation or identification of impediments (the things that might be slowing you down or preventing results).

2. There is no analysis of things that are working or not working about the current approach.

The fix is simple: get specific about what needs to be achieved and work backwards to how you’ll get there within the constraints of your team.

Simple but not easy.

Stop trying to make gears turn faster in a gearbox. It burns people out and doesn’t improve results.

Set clear, reasonable goals to get small wins.

2 Minute Action:

Look over your “to-do” list for today.

How many of the items are written in a way where you can definitely say “yes, this is done?”

Is the task to make a call or is the task really to get the person on the phone to sign up?

Is the task really to send a contract or is the task really to close the deal?

Measure the end result.

Be specific.

You’re all set.

Lets have a productive day.

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