Call your shots—and make them!

Three ball in the side pocket.”  She leans over and stares intently along the imaginary line extending from her cue towards the white ball and on towards a tiny spot on the intermediary ball that she must hit with precision accuracy.

Slowly, and deliberately, the cue slides back and forth along the bridge made by her left hand.   “Clatack!”  The sound matches the speed with which the white ball’s cascading impact causes her words to come true.

You can’t help but feel respect for the player as she calls her next shot even before the ‘three’ ball rolls to a stop below the table.  Your respect grows as she continues to call her shots, and makes most of them.

Professionals call—and MAKE—their shots

This is the mark of a professional: they first declare what they are going to do and then they do it.

In business we’re constantly calling our shots; in meetings we take the action items and in private conversations we make promises, but we often don’t take the care we need to actually make those shots.

Here are a couple reasons why it’s important to make the shots you call.

Demonstrates skill

It takes months of practice for a pool player to consistently be able to make the shots s/he calls.  It’s the same in business.  Professionals are able to make the shots they call because they have healthy practices around time management, energy management, communication and the use of technology; not to mention their particular field of expertise.  Their making the shots they call is a demonstration of their mastery of these practices.

Calling the shot before you make it shouts to the world that you have the skill to do what you say.  Calling and making the shot separates you from the masses that are unwilling or unable to do so.

Builds trust

Making the shot you call—actually doing what you said you would—is a declaration to the world that you stand behind your word.   Every public declaration of your intent followed by your fulfilment of your intent establishes a benchmark by which everyone else begins to assess your trustworthiness.

For any one shot, it doesn’t matter how easy or impossible the shot, it only matters that you declared it and made it. If you make it, we look to see if you will do it again.

Not everything we need done requires a rocket scientist, but your declaration that you will do it followed by the experience of your doing what you said constitutes a meaningful offer of help that we value and pay for.

Secretly getting things done is good, but in business we need to co-ordinate action so we’ll pay a premium for the person who declares what they will do and actually gets it done. It’s one less thing we have to worry about if you can be relied upon to do it for us.  You’re reliable because you consistently deliver what you promised.

Consistency matters

We look for consistency because we don’t feel good with people or things that don’t perform or behave in predictable ways.
There are just too many unpredictables in life to have you be one of them.

Making the shots you call, doing what you say demonstrates that we don’t have to worry about what you will do, or how you will perform with regard to what’s important to us.  Because you say what you are going to do, and you do it.

That’s the kind of player we want on our team.  And we’ll pay top dollar for you too.

A tool to help you make the shots you call

“After The Meeting” is an application that’s been specifically designed to help people manage the promises they make (the shots they call) in meetings.   This post originally appeared on the After The Meeting blog on November 16th.  If you want to learn how After The Meeting can help you make the shots you call as well as reduce wasted time in meetings, click here.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.