As a business owner or CEO, you work hard to be as effective as possible.  At times, though, you may feel so weighed down that you know you are not being productive or proactive.  Here is fresh inspiration from the game of Racquetball to restore your balance, perspective and motivation:     

  1. Always be aware of what is going on around you.  A person playing racquetball has to be hypersensitive to where the ball is, where his opponent is and how he stands in relation to them.  If he loses sight of any of these positions, he will lose the game.  In the same way, as a CEO, you must be immersed in the action of your company.  Obviously, you cannot be in the trenches with your employees 24/7, but you can cultivate heightened sensitivity to factors, trends and competition that can affect your business.  Practically, this means taking time to visit each department and getting to know what your people face each day as they do their jobs.   It also means being approachable and ready to listen when employees have a problem or a creative idea. 
  2. Focus:  Never lose sight of your company’s goals and objectives.  In racquetball, your goal is to win.   A business owner who loses track of the bigger picture will not succeed.  He or she will wallow in details at the expense of the vision.  The best way to keep yourself attuned to critical milestones is to write down your company’s goals and objectives and post them where you can see them every day.  Then once a month, re-evaluate where your company is in relation to those goals.
  3. Have Flexibility:  Be on your toes to handle surprises.  Your racquetball opponent may respond with a move that you have never seen before.  You have to be flexible enough to take it in stride and use it to your advantage.  As you know from experience, your business will continually be hit with unexpected challenges, like vendor issues, wholesale price hikes, or new competitors.   It’s the nature of the beast.  If, however, you build flexibility into every aspect of your company, these surprises will be ripples instead of tsunamis. 
  4. Speed:  Minimize waste so that things get done faster.  A great racquetball player works hard at improving speed.  One of the ways to do this is by minimizing wasted motion.  Evaluate your business protocols, procedures and systems to determine if time, money, material or even personnel are being wasted.  Is your business being bogged down by antiquated methods of doing things? If so, then initiate changes that will free up your people to function more effectively and make your company more efficient.  

Have you enjoyed seeing how the game of racquetball offers insights for CEO like yourself?  For more comparisons, see Boardroom Power Tip #4: “Being an Effective CEO: “Lessons from the Game of Racquetball” Part 2. 

Categories: Leadership

Romeo Effs

Romeo Effs is founder and CEO of Lumorus, a global consultancy that helps businesses and their leaders redefine their corporate governance and leadership to bring about positive, structural change.