For those that don’t know me well, I’m actively involved in coaching my 12-year-old son’s baseball teams (yes, plural). This weekend, my son’s travel team was playing and I kept telling the boys to field the ball “leaning forward” to “keep the ball in front of them.” In this case, a couple of the boys were not leaning forward and when they didn’t field the ball cleanly, the ball continued on its path and the opposing team got on base and scored runs as a result.
I regularly tell the boys that they don’t need to field the ball cleanly to get an out. The key is to keep the ball in front of you. When you do that, you typically still have the time to get an out. As I was debriefing the game with the other coaches, I realized how much the concept of “Leaning Forward” applies to business – especially in difficult markets.
The tougher business is, the more we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We try to get sales opportunities to their ideal state, we worry about losing opportunities (even when we don’t really have them). The result of this is that we begin to play the game of business on our “mental heels,” leaning back if you will.
Then when something unexpected happens, we’re not in the position to keep the opportunity in front of us, to recover, and ultimately to capture the opportunity. So, this morning I give you the advice I gave my son’s teams:
Stay aggressive, lean forward, and keep those opportunities in front of you.