Yesterday, my friend and insanely smart dude, Charlie O’Donnell retweeted this:
And, it got me thinking. So, I tracked it back to Jonah Peretti’s original series of tweets to get a bit more context.
Jonah’s next two tweets were:
I get what Charlie and Jonah are saying.
In many sports, you often do better if you don’t step up and swing for the fence or try to drive your golf ball 300 yards, but rather, have the intention to simply make good solid contact with the ball. Why?
Because, swinging harder usually means adding speed and coordination often degrades at higher speed (until you’ve practiced at speed for a long time). Two, when you set extremely high expectations, you increase the level of stress and that can interfere with concentration, coordination and performance. So, Charlie and Jonah were on the money when it comes to sports. But they weren’t talking about baseball.
They were using sports as an analogy to talk about business, especially start-ups.
And I started wondering…are these things really true in business? Especially in the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship?
In that world, I’m not so sure if I buy the notion that swinging for singles makes you more likely to hit home runs. I haven’t experienced it, nor have I seen it unfold all that often with other entrepreneurs I know.
And, imagine an entrepreneur presenting to a venture capitalist and saying:
“We’re not interested in home-runs, we’re all about bunts, singles and line-drive. Ya know, the safe, incremental stuff. And, we’re banking on the fact that we’ll lull our competitors into complacency with singles, then sneak past them when they’re not looking to dominate our market.”
Or, what if an entrepreneur used that same line to try to rally great people to join their team or to lead their team to work toward a mission. If you were a prospective or current teammate, would you be inspired by a quest to hit singles?
Setting your expectations lower may take the pressure off and allow you to perform more consistently at a lower level, but is that why you’re really in the game…in the biz? And, are you looking to build a team of people who are striving to perform together on a more consistent, yet lower level? I don’t think so.
Why not commit to hitting it over the fence AND then add in a set of daily practices and rituals that’ll let you deal with the stress of the quest?
As always, I’m just thinking out loud here.
What do YOU think?
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