Photo by Ola Dapo
My wife and I recently volunteered at a coaches retreat for the NorCal High School Mt Bike Race league where 65 coaches attended a long weekend event full of educational and fun activities. There was a staff of 15 people working together to make sure the participants left feeling fulfilled. To accomplish this, we all had to step it up, be 100% committed and work together. We could have easily taken the “wing it” approach at the risk of the retreat coming across as an amateur event. Thankfully, the director of the league told the staff on the first day to “keep it tight.” She essentially meant that she had confidence in all our abilities but didn’t want us to get complacent. We needed to all step up to provide the best possible experience for the participants.
Those three words rang true to me as it relates to my normal day job as a consultant and coach. It can be easy at times to fall to a level of complacency in doing something that I am good at, but that approach would ultimately show up in my work product. In a business where I rely on clients to keep coming back to me and refer me to others, I must keep it tight. This is not always easy to adhere to when I have other pressures in life, yet it is imperative to continue to grow and maintain a successful business.
If you look at how you conduct your own business, how often does complacency knock on your door? More importantly, how often do you open that door?
In the professional services market, competition is real and continuing to grow. Most of us cannot afford to get lazy and just wait for the phone to ring (or in today’s world, the email to come in) with a client requesting to hire us. We need to actively connect with our contacts and show them that we are not only alive and well, but that we care about how they are doing. If we don’t, we leave the door wide open for competitors to come in and grab work from those contacts.
It goes without saying that keeping it tight is directly tied to our work product. What professionals often forget is that it also pertains to our client relationships. I have seen too many professionals get complacent with their network and then scratch their heads wondering why they are not growing their businesses faster.
Think of ways you can be more efficient with your time and carve out a little bit of BD time on a regular basis to keep in touch with your network and explore ways to meet new contacts. This does not have to be complicated, but it does need to be intentional.
When my wife and I arrived at the coaches’ retreat, I was somewhat lackadaisical in how I was going to play a role at the retreat. After I heard the words come from the league director, I snapped out of that complacent mindset and stepped up my efforts. We were happy to hear that the retreat was a huge success. I was even happier to receive that important reminder that when you commit to something, do it right. Winging it does not always produce the optimal result.