When golden ducks kill the golden goose

by Peter Crocker

Do you struggle to get runs on the board for your business under the relentless barrage of distractions? It happens to the very best.

Captivated by the drama of fading veterans, floundering newcomers and stunning collapses, I’ve been watching far too much cricket this summer.

How is it that such skilled professionals can deliver such haphazard performances? My theory is that with so much happening off the field it’s easy to lose your concentration on it.

The blur of media, endorsements, lavish parties, adoring admirers, self-doubt, temptations and lucrative deals that surround cricketers, for example, are all periphery to delivering results on the field. Without those, the whole juggernaut slams to a halt.

If the results dry up, the golden goose is cooked.

Like besieged sports people, business owners must find a way to consistently get runs on the board despite the powerful battery of distractions that fire in from all sides. Every day brings a fast-paced serve of pinging emails, social media, marketing campaigns, media interviews, phone calls, shiny new opportunities, bills, paperwork and all the rest.

As important as these things can be, they are all secondary. Long-term business success boils down to getting the basics right – delivering quality products and services every day.

But how?

Back to the cricket for a minute. Listening to the coaches and experts, I consistently hear the same advice given to players in a rut: “Clear your mind of distractions, and focus only on playing the next ball.” In other words, first make sure you get the basics right and the rest will follow.

This is a theme we’ve embraced at Flying Solo for 2012. We’ve strongly renewed our commitment to producing quality content, enhancing member benefits and nurturing an even more supportive community. We’ve ruthlessly reviewed our business plan and dropped many actions that don’t align with this focus.

Personally, I’ve translated this into three themes for my year ahead:

  • Health: Turn up ready to play with regular exercise and earlier mornings.
  • Focus: Work in blocks without email and eliminate non-essential tasks.
  • Patience: Trust that if you score enough runs the selectors will call.

One in a million will burst onto the scene Dave Warner style, the rest of us must grind out the runs like Ed Cowan. Both of them open the batting for Australia.

What’s your focus for 2012? Get on the front foot by posting it as a comment.

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