THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Balls in the air

How many of those do you have right now? In recent conversation with clients and colleagues, I’ve noticed how many of us are trying to manage TOO MANY BALLS IN THE AIR. It’s like an army with a front line that is too extended. Supply lines are weak and resources take too long to arrive. Any attack on the front line is difficult to defend, because the line is too thin and an enemy can push though the line and then reverse and attack from the rear. A very dangerous place to be. Even here at BKH we have to be very careful how many conversations we open. I’ve started using Less Annoying CRM (a great little application) to keep track of those conversations with

  1. suppliers

  2. recruits

  3. potential coaching clients

  4. joint-venture partners

  5. team members

  6. course providers

  7. existing clients

and others. Right now I have 54 such conversations ‘on the go’. It’s very easy in such circumstances to work like a dog all day and feel that you have achieved nothing by the end of it. Because the front line is too wide and too thin. So I have now introduced a prioritisation system. STRTTM = short-term route to the money MTRTTM = medium-term route to the money LTRTTM = (you get it…) Now, ‘route to the money’ doesn’t mean the absence of common sense and due diligence, nor does it mean doing anything that isn’t in line with our culture and core vales. But it does mean prioritisation of activities to ensure that the business is doing things that feed us (make money) as well as eat us (cost money). It results in some folks getting frustrated that their ‘big idea’ may not be acted on so quickly – but that’s the way it has to be – big ideas don’t always pay the bills. I am noticing the same trend in conversations with clients – TOO MANY BALLS IN THE AIR – a symptom that particularly afflicts those of us who LOVE ideas – we love to have all those bright shiny objects glittering in the air before us (me too) and sometimes we lose focus on what really matters. I have to keep telling myself:

  1. FOCUS

  2. SIMPLIFY

and I find myself telling clients to do the same. Right now I am focusing on the TOP 5 STRTTMs – everything and everybody else will have to wait a few days. 5 balls in the air – so that I don’t drop all 54. May I suggest that you do the same?

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