What are your four-minute blocks?

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One of the reasons I enjoy sports is because they sometimes serve as a kind of management simulator. For example, Michael Lewis’ great book, Moneyball, is not just about how the Oakland Athletics baseball team selected players, it’s also about how any company can compute the value that an employee adds to the company – and beyond that, how rationally or emotionally we make decisions.

My alma mater, The University of Michigan, is in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (aka March Madness). On Sunday they played against a much higher rated team and were down by 8 points at the half but outscored them by 12 points in the second half to win. The Michigan coach said that at halftime he said to his players that they shouldn’t try to get back all 8 points at once but instead should focus on winning each four-minute segment of the 20-minute second half. If they won those segments they would win the game. And they did.

Many of our corporate and personal goals may seem daunting when looked at from afar. How are we ever going to increase leads or opportunities by X percent? But when we break them down into what needs to be done to get there they are achievable.

For example, work back from your revenue goals to figure out how many opportunities you need to reach them, then figure out what activities will generate that many opportunities. From there you can break it down to what do you need to do this week, this month, and this quarter to hit those numbers. Suddenly a daunting goal becomes achievable.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.