Pay Attention to the Basics

This marks the fifth edition of Adages from Ascent. I hope it is proving useful to you.

By now you likely have noticed that the concepts conveyed have two characteristics in common: they are simple and they are practical. Simple concepts are often the most practical, and yet they are often the most easily ignored or forgotten. Just as a good basketball coach will focus on practicing dribbling, shooting and passing, we too must focus on the basics. We should periodically step back and make sure we are doing the basics well.

Using the points covered in previous newsletters, here’s a little reality check on the basics:

  • Are we paying proper attention to how we interact with others? Do we realize that there is little of consequence that we can accomplish by ourselves, and thus we need to acknowledge and act as if we need those around us in order for us to succeed? Are we listening more than talking?
  • Are we focused more on solutions than on problems?
  • Are we acting with the realization that what we do or say (or don’t do or don’t say) will have a significant impact on our own success and how others around us react to us?
  • Are we first deciding what we want to be the end (the result, the outcome), then making our plans and taking action in support of that?

In many ways, these are comparable to dribbling, shooting and passing. They are the basics. They certainly are not sufficient in and of themselves, but much of our other efforts will be thwarted if we are not adequately addressing these basics.

Each organization, each discipline, each position, also has basic elements that are fundamental to success. A common mistake is to assume that, because they are basic, they are simple and require little attention. In fact, not paying attention to these basics can lead to failure.

What are your functional equivalents of dribbling, shooting and passing? Make a list of them right now. Put them in your organizer/planner or on your “to-do” list and review them daily.