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Focus First on Blocking and Tackling


A couple years ago I worked for a guy who would say, "We have to learn how to block and tackle before we worry about running trick plays."  It was a reference to making sure you master the basics of what you're doing before you try to do anything extra special or outside the regular scope of responsibility.

You see this tendency in high school sports.  In hockey it might mean trying too many fancy moves or passes instead of just putting the puck on goal.  In basketball it might mean slashing through the lane for a tough lay-up instead of running the coach's called play.  No matter what you want to compare it to, mastering the basics first is the most important thing.  If you're not executing the basics, all the additional stuff you're doing doesn't matter nearly as much, and won't be done as well.

One of the reasons people ignore the basics and go for the "trick plays" is because they are in search of recognition or fame.  It's the trick plays that make Sportscenter, but it is the blocking and tackling that wins games and championships.  There is a reason the Harlem Globetrotters are a side show and not an NBA team.

As a leader, make sure that you keep your focus on mastering the "blocking and tackling" in your field.  If you do this you will experience much more long term success.  Continue to reinforce this with your teams and they will build solid foundations for all the other things you want them to achieve.
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