As a sports fan, these last few weeks have been busy, what with the National Hockey League Playoffs, The National Lacrosse League Championships and the National Basketball Playoffs all being televised. Watching hockey, I’ve noticed a couple of things. First, the number of blocked shots is the highest it has ever been, and second the number of shots that were wide or over top of the net seems unusually high as well.
Now, you would think that professional players being paid millions of dollars could hit the target when it really counted. Pay me a million dollars, I can miss the net too, probably even more frequently! Purists will say that, some shots intentionally are shot high or wide for rebounds or deflections, others will point to the number of blocked shots, and still others will sayplayers are under immense pressure to get a shot off. There is actually a website where all the stats are available.
There are similarities in the business world. Sometimes we are under enormous pressure to take the shot, make the sale, hit the mark or nail a launch date. Obstacles block our progress, the environment changes, competition emerges, and all are distracting. At times there is no clear shot at the target, and we are forced to stickhandle or move in a different direction. As professionals in our field, we don’t always score, in fact if you examine your sales and marketing strategies, you will find that there are many times that we miss, or worse don’t even take the shot.
Professional players practice individual skills and team skills, offensive and defensive as well as special teams designed to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Businesses don’t have the luxury of practice, however you can plan and be prepared. Training should be an integral part your business activities. Strategies need to be examined, measured for effectiveness and revised where required to meet the moving target.
Most important of all, you need to get the shot off when the traffic in front of the target clears. Wayne Gretzky said it best “you’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.