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Keep Your Eye on the Ball BUT Don't "Ball Watch"


If you are a footballer (soccer player) you will have heard your coach shout this many times …keep your eye on the ball!  It is a particularly disconcerting phrase because that same coach might, not 5 minutes later, accuse you of “ball watching” … which is NOT a good thing!

What does it all mean?

1. Keep your eye on the ball.  In soccer you will strike the ball most effectively if you watch the ball as you hit it ( not unlike that “other” game, golf).  If you let your eyes drift off to the goal, a natural tendency, then you are likely to not hit the ball as crisply as you should, and it may end up going in a different direction than you intend.

2. Ball watching.  While engaged in a match your job is to take in all of the action, be alert to the movement of the opposing players as well as be aware of where your own teammates are.  There can be a tendency to lose focus on the big picture when you focus on the ball alone … this generally happens when something exciting is happening, a near goal etc.  The problem is that your opponent may well end up unmarked with space to cause some damage!

Lessons for business people.

1.  When executing on a plan you need to “keep your eye on the ball“.  The day to day activities that you complete towards your plan (the tasks) are what will lead to success.  It is easy to be distracted by other “options”, “opportunities” or “distractions”.  Success comes to those who execute best!  Focus, focus, focus!

2.  Periodically you need to take a more strategic look at what you are doing.  You do this by stepping back from the “tasks” and revaluating your plan based on new conditions.  You can make sure the plan is still relevant and make corrections as required.  Once you are comfortable with the plan it is back to action!  If you are “ball watching” you might just miss out on opportunities, allow your competitors some advantage or miss out on changing market conditions!

Kevin’s take away:

Clearly those footballers are smart people!