You can just make out the finish line from where you’re crouching. You see all the other runners you’ll be competing with and you know it all revolves around getting to that finish line first. You see the line ref come out and raise the gun. Sweat beads on your forehead. You’re ready.
The gun fires!
And THAT’S when you realize that you’re 100 yards behind everyone else, your shoes aren’t laced and you’re facing the wrong way.
Starting Strong Is Almost As Important As Finishing First
If you played sports growing up, I’m betting you heard the phrase, “It doesn’t matter how you start, it only matters how you finish.”
I’m not going to come out here and say that doesn’t have a place in business (business, when done correctly, IS a team sport by all regards), but that phrase pertains mainly to one vs one team sports. You won’t hear many runners or track stars or swimmers touting that line.
And there’s a very good reason.
It’s very important how to start when you’re dealing with a situation where it’s you vs a multitude of people AND yourself. Every move counts and if you start wrong, it affects everything else you do.
- Runners constantly practice their crouch and release.
- Swimmers practice their platform explosions on a daily basis.
- Football linemen go over and over their line stance.
- Shot-putters take great care into their footing before they even begin their spin.
- Comedians take great care in choosing their opening joke.
- High jumpers know exactly how they have to begin to make their heights
- And so on.
Sure, it’s important to practice beforehand and know your plan and it’s vitally important to know your goals along the way, but if you aren’t understanding exactly how you need to start, you’ll end up finished before you get the chance to compete.
- Don’t start creating social media profiles before you have a content strategy mapped out and inconstancies accounted for.
- Don’t begin your internal rollout without understanding where your employees stand right now on the idea.
- Don’t set up your analytics until you know who is going to be measuring what, and how.
- Don’t present your plan to your hopeful executive hero without anticipating their questions.
- Don’t buy social listening tools without writing down what you’re listening for.
- Don’t run before you practice your crouch and release.
The thing about social media that makes it great is that it moves fast and throws your company right into the mix with your customers. The scary and terrible thing about social media is that it moves fast and throws your company right into the mix with your customers.
You have to know your abilities and where your starting line truly starts if you want to finish the race; and if you haven’t yet learned how to swim, you’d better not dive right in, even if you know all you have to do it reach the end. Because you’ll still drown.
Have you seen companies jump the gun too early and pay the price? What’s a time you’ve seen your company plan for an initiative correctly on the front end and reap the benefits because of it?
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