Every action taken (or not taken) either pushes your idea forward or holds it back. Sometimes we ignore the intangible elements of productivity, namely self-awareness, discipline, and confidence. You must manage yourself as you manage ideas. If you stop and think about it, your ability to make ideas happen is dependent on you and…the ball.
Are you moving the ball forward?
With everything you say and do, you either move the ball forward or backwards. Excess chatter in meetings, repetitive questions, and inconsequential concerns only distract you and others from action – thus moving the ball backwards. Aspire to content-make rather than commentate. Moving the ball forward is adding value that enriches and expedites the outcome.
Is the ball even moving?
Insecurity and apathy can inhibit progress. In the process of pursuing ideas, you need to keep the ball in motion. Remember, idle balls sitting still on the floor are dangerous: you can trip on them. Catch yourself when the components of an active project are still. Dwelling over inactive projects can destroy motivation.
Is your eye on the ball?
Typical meetings are full of digressions and points made beyond the scope of the meeting. Sometimes interesting stuff takes the place of relevant stuff. If you can stay focused on the purpose and the points that gain traction, then you can help foster productive discussion.
Who has the ball?
The ball is either in your court or someone else’s. The problem is that, after many meetings, the ball is left in neutral territory. No-man’s land. Are you supposed to call the person to further discuss the problem or are they supposed to come back to you with possible solutions? Always know where the ball is, and never ever leave it in your court. If we all committed to never let the ball rest in our respective court, then the ball would ALWAYS be moving.
It is hard to manage the many forces required to push ideas forward. A ball is round, it rolls, and it is the key to productivity – so keep an eye out for it!