When things aren’t working.

How long do you go on when things aren’t working?

How many items do you change before you say, “This isn’t ever going to work?”

I’m a competitive bowler, when I go four frames without a strike, generally, I’m changing the ball I throw. When I leave back-to-back ten pins I’m moving where I stand. If I don’t hit the pocket, I’m making a major adjustment.

Here are the things that can be changed in broad terms in the game of bowling:

  • Alignment
  • Execution
  • Equipment

Those are all things that are in the bowlers control.

Here are things that are out of the bowlers control:

  • The playing surface/oil pattern
  • The other bowlers
  • The environment – temperature, humidity, sound

Learning to focus on the items in your control is a skill. If you truly believe you’ve exhausted every option for alignment, execution, and equipment, then that is a sign it is time to end things.

Why is it only a sign and not a definitive?

Well, the environment is always changing. It’s possible that something you tried early on didn’t work because the environment wasn’t ready, after trying other things that didn’t work and going back to the original idea, it now works again. This is an example of right solution, wrong time.

When we make the analogies from bowling to business, here is what comes to mind:

  • Alignment = Audience, Offerings, Messaging
  • Execution = How well were the messages and offerings perceived by the audience. Were they perceived at all?
  • Equipment = How is our skill and efforts being magnified by tools and assets available to us that we use to deliver our execution

The interesting fact here is that these items are all interrelated and can’t be judged separately. If you haven’t picked an alignment, you can’t judge execution. If you have an alignment, but haven’t picked the equipment how can you execute? A TV message is different than a written one.

You have to pick all of these, do the work and then review each. For any endeavor, that is a lot of variables to try before giving up.

One thought on “When things aren’t working.

Comments are closed.