Last week I was in Fort Myers for Spring Training and had a chance to go to a Twins/Red Sox baseball game with my family, including my 2 ½ year old grandson. While the Twins lost, it was still great to get outside and watch the pros work on their game. It was also a reminder that professionals at the top of their game need to continually practice the fundamentals that got them there if they want to stay there.
As a Vistage Chair, my “Spring Training” was at the International Think Big Conference in Dallas last month. I joined 400 other chairs from around the world to practice our fundamentals of running meetings, processing issues, coaching CEOs, and building strong groups with the best of the best. I further refine these fundamentals with fellow chairs in the twin cities at our monthly chair meetings. This continued focus on practicing the fundamentals of great coaching and leading peer group meetings is one of the things that sets Vistage apart from other CEO peer group organizations.
Last week a CEO in one of my peer groups was trying to decide whether he and his partner had lost their ability to bring in business because their revenues were behind plan. They had always been highly successful in the past, and there were plenty of opportunities in the pipeline. Further questioning by the group led to the insight that they were spending a lot of time on opportunities that were outside of their sweet spot. The group helped him better define his target customer so he could focus his sales and marketing efforts there, rather than chasing opportunities that were outside of their core. Finally, they suggested that he and his partner go on a few joint calls to make sure they were executing good sales fundamentals, and had not fallen into some bad habits.
So, when was the last time you went to spring training? Just because you have been in your role a long time does not mean you are doing it better now than you were earlier in your career. Find a mentor, coach, or peer group that can help you periodically practice the fundamentals that have made you good at what you do.