My sons Tom and Greg, unlike their father, were talented high school athletes. Both did especially well playing basketball at a small parochial school with a rich tradition in the sport.
Unfortunately, in my high school days a generation earlier, I saw action only if the game was well in hand. Once my boys asked about my skills on the court, “Were you any good back in the day, Pops?”
I danced around this issue by explaining in a truthful (but perhaps misleading) manner, “Good? Your old man was quite the basketball player. As a matter of fact, every time I played we won by at least twenty points!”
I’m not sure they bought it but my response made me smile.
Getting back to the point of my story: It was 1989 and I was sitting next to my 6′ 5″ attorney friend, John Perkins, at a Fort Dodge St. Edmond varsity game. I respected his opinion because at the time John held the all-time scoring record at St. Edmond for the past twenty-five years. We were watching my son Greg play one of his best games of the season for the Gaels.
“Do you know why Greg is such a good rebounder and gets so many easy put-back points?” he asked.
“Not really,” I had to admit. “At 6′ 2″ he certainly isn’t a big guy by today’s standards.”
“Because he doesn’t jump unless there’s a reason. He plays smart and doesn’t waste energy. He excels at economy of motion.”
From that point on, I had a new admiration for what Greg did on the court. John was absolutely right. I began to pay attention and observed that everything he did was for a reason and he didn’t wear himself out with ineffective activity.
That principle is as useful for all of us in our professional lives as it is in sports. We would be well-served by paying attention to our respective daily activities as entrepreneurs.
· How often do we waste time and energy by majoring in the minors?
· By spending time that is not going to yield significant results for the task at hand?
· How many times do we handle the same document that we could have completed, delegated, filed or thrown into the trash?
· How have we wasted time by not having a process?
· By not taking notes that could have been the source of an answer to a problem?
We would all do well to analyze what we do; how we do it; and why we do it.
Doing things on purpose. Exercising economy of motion—it’s one of the secrets to success on the basketball court and in the business world.
Bill Sheridan–SHERIDAN WRITES
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