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The Importance Of The First Stroke

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

The coach leaned forward on her handle bars and across the bike path at the side of the lake.
The four girls in the boat who had been training since sun up hung on her every word.

“I want you to focus on the first stroke, nothing else. Just keep thinking I am going to move the boat forward with this single stroke. This stroke is the only thing that matters.” she said.

The team didn’t nod, but you could see that they got it.

Once we’re in the boat and we’ve got a strategy the thing to care about is how we execute on our first stroke. Often in business (as in life), as soon as we get hold of the oars we have a habit of worrying about the next stroke and the one after that. We’re mentally clearing tables in our head as we offer customers the menu. Laying out our terms and conditions before we’ve had a chance to understand what the customer really wants. Eliminating the backlog, getting through stuff and onto the next thing.

We win by getting the first stroke right, moment to moment. Because that kind of considered effort doesn’t just pay off—it shows.

Image by Ed Dunen.