Follow Satchel’s advice: Don’t look back

by | Jun 15, 2011 | Blog | 0 comments

“We were bad.”

“We’ve been doing it all wrong.”

“We’ve done some not so great things.”

These are comments I’ve recently heard from clients, prospects, and fellow participants at the IABC 2011 World Conference about their past communication and change practices.

My response: “Stop beating yourself up! Things change. Now, move forward with different, appropriate actions.”

No, I’m not trying to invalidate what they and others have done in the past. I’m just saying, take time now to:

  • Acknowledge that you have a base from which to build (or pivot or topple).
  • Appreciate that you recognize that you need to change to respond to new situations.
  • Focus on the present and future.

Yes, I recognize my orientation to time is future based. And I also had a very influential co-worker at the Tulsa Oiler Baseball Park who always used to say, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

The legendary Satchel Paige was an amazing man. His pitching career spanned five decades through the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues. He also served as a major league coach, a minor league ambassador, and a philosopher. (One of my other favorite Paige quotes is: “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”)

So in the spirit of Satchel Paige, when you’re communicating change, look forward. Also, stop taking actions that are no longer appropriate. And avoid obsolete truisms.

In particular, be careful of these three myths that can trip you up:

1. There’s no such thing as over-communication. Not in practice! Too much information can add to the clutter and overload, which taxes our brain and causes us to ignore it. Think quality rather than quantity, both in content and the channels you use.

2.  The more resources the better. Not necessarily so! Even if you can score more money to do more, you can’t guarantee that you’ll get greater attention and commitment. For example, if your many messages conflict with one another or come from experts who aren’t credible, you’re diluting the value of your work.

3. Data trumps emotions in making decisions, especially in business. Wrong! Good-decision making is not based in the gut or the brain. Instead, it’s a careful combination of both, as Jonah Lehrer describes in his book, How We Decide.

As I work with my clients, we address these traditional practices as well as others that can get in the way. Otherwise, we aren’t able to achieve their goals as quickly and straightforwardly as they’d like.

What are you doing to embrace the present and prepare for the future?


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