What are the basics you need to do brilliantly?

I think many of us get so stuck in our pursuit of perfection that we fail to focus on the simple things that will make a world of difference.

For many years I played the game of squash, and in all those years I took many lessons. In fact, I took lessons from at least four or five different squash pros. While each pro was different in their approach, each one of them was fixated on perfection. In some lessons I would spend 40 minutes just making sure my elbow was bent at the correct angle or that my feet were placed perfectly. In the end none of these changes really made a big difference, until the day I met Tim Gardiner. Tim was the squash pro at the Parkview Club and what he said in our first lesson has stuck with me all these years. He said, “We can spend hours on end working on your stance, your positioning and your grip but in reality none of those things are going to matter unless I can get you to commit to doing the basics brilliantly.” He told me that most squash players had the same abilities and skill but it was the ones who were brilliant with the basics that rose to the top.

That day Tim taught me three things that changed my game. In no time I won my squash ladder, I then won the next squash ladder and I quickly moved into being a competitive squash player. I tell you this because this month I want you to think about mastering the basics in your world.

I think many of us get so stuck in our pursuit of perfection (or the pursuit of pizzazz) that we fail to focus on the simple things that will make a world of difference. We implement sophisticated CRM systems, we create slick customer presentations/websites and we write “knock’em dead” proposals but we forget about our commitment to the core.

In the world of relationships and business development I believe there are three activities we can all consider as part of our basic core:

  1. Asking for customer commitment,
  2. Uncover/probe for “true” client needs,
  3. Actively farm and develop future opportunity,

So let me ask you, how would you rank yourself and/or your company in these three areas? Are you committed to doing the basics brilliantly? Perhaps in your world there are other things that are part of your core. What are they? How are you doing with them? Remember the “Hawthorne Effect” that taught us, “Things that are monitored, improve.”

This month take time to discover the basics in your business. Ask what are the “must do” simple things that will make all the difference in the world? Once you know what they are… then make a commitment to do them brilliantly!


List as many ideas for the following …

1) What are the basic elements in your business?
2) How would you rate your performance in doing them?
3) What could you commit, in order to do them brilliantly?

Curt Skene