I was the head coach of the girls high school basketball for six years at North Kitsap High School starting back in 2000. It gave me a quick indoctrination on how to make decisions in real time and how to practice those decisions in advance. While decisions made in a high school basketball game may not have the same financial implications as they do in a business environment, they are sure important to the players, coaches, parents, and school.

One of the real-time decisions we practiced every day was a concept called, Quick Hitters. These are plays designed to score quickly because there is little to no time left in the half or the game. For example, there might only be three seconds left and you’re down by one point with the ball on your sideline or baseline. The game is on the line and you have to have a play ready that you and the team are confident in.

I will repeat that last part – you and the team are confident in.

The reality of any season that comprised of 20 games was that you might only really need that play three or four times all year. We’d often run them in non-critical situations to practice them in game with players who didn’t know what was coming. But you never wanted to show off the play too much because you were always being scouted and wanted to keep your best Quick Hitters to yourself!

We practiced Quick Hitters daily. The defense knew the play – and sometimes I’d add extra defenders to make it even harder. But that repetition is what created skill, competence, and confidence. The players loved Quick Hitters and became proficient with them. Now in games, they didn’t always result in a score, however they were normally executed very well. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the basket, even with great execution. Regardless, that competence helped us be prepared to run any Quick Hitter with confidence.

In your business, are you prepared to make good decisions in critical situations, or are you simply drawing up a play on the fly?

My experience is the latter. Now make no mistake, entrepreneurs are innovative and smart. Those decisions might be the right “plays to run.” Here’s the problem – if none of the players (aka employees) know the play, how can they be expected to execute it well? The reason all sports teams at every level of skill (youth to pros) practice at all is to have competence and confidence in the execution of plays. Quick Hitters are usually run in critical situations where the game is on the line. Your business Quick Hitters will be made in critical situations where the safety of your employees, the continuation of your operations, and your company reputation are on the line. How confident are you that your employees are prepared to score?

We practiced Quick Hitters daily. You don’t need to do that. However, you should have the plays drawn up (e.g. crisis strategy, including communication). You should give the plays to your players (aka your employees), and you must practice them at least twice a year at a minimum (quarterly is ideal). By doing this, you are making it possible for your employees to comprehend the plan, improve their skills and perspicacity, and gain confidence that regardless of the calamity, they are ready and prepared to respond.

My players loved practicing Quick Hitters. I’ve got good news for you – I’ve found that employees love doing crisis simulations. The reason? They care about the business, the safety of their coworkers, and their own safety. So why not start today? Begin thinking of some ways you can implement Quick Hitters in your business. I’ve got some ideas, so call or email me if you’d like to discuss for your business.

There will be another game-critical situation for your business. It could be a fire, cyber attack, or another pandemic. Make sure your players are prepared to score for the team.

Quote of the Week:

“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.”

~ Napoleon Bonaparte

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