Business in the bowling lane

Bowling ball
Bowling ball (Photo credit: jonnykeelty)

Last weekend, my older daughter and I went bowling with some friends of ours.  It was the first time the girls had been bowling, and it was the first time in over a decade my friend or I had bowled.  Suffice it to say, we pretty much sucked at it.  At least the girls have the excuse of never having bowled before.

While I was at the bowling alley, I thought of how running a business is so similar to bowling.

1.  My game is the only one that matters.  When I’m at the foul line, it doesn’t matter how the players on either side of me are doing.  All that matters is my bowl.  Is my position right?  Am I keeping my wrist in the right direction?  Where are my eyes looking?

In running my business, it is really not important to me how my competition is doing.  It’s none of my business whether they’re making false claims or not.  And it’s doesn’t matter how often they’re marketing their business.  These things aren’t even important to me if the competitor is a friend of mine (though I, of course, want my friends to do well).  In that moment of attending to my business, all that matters is how I’m attending to my business.

2.  When I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, not even the performance of my team matters in that moment.  Each member of a team has his or her tasks, his or her responsibilities and his or her duties, just as I have mine.  When I trust my team, then I can trust that each member will do what he/she should be doing, which leaves me free to attend to my tasks and responsibilities.  This trust and empowerment, combined with personal responsibility, ensures that the “big picture” work gets done quickly, efficiently and in a most excellent way.

3.  I need to focus on where I want my ball to go.  In bowling, the best chance for a strike is when the ball hits the pins between the center pin and the pin either to the immediate left or the immediate right of the center.  Hit the 1 pin dead-on, and you’re almost guaranteed to get the dreaded 7-10 split.  The eyes look down the lane at the spot where I want my ball to go, then they come back up the lane to the arrows on the lane, and I use those arrows to guide me in aiming my ball.

In business, it’s great and highly advisable to look at the big picture, to look into the distance to see where the business will end up.  This is a huge part of 3- and 5-year plans and business projections.  However, I can’t run my business in the day-to-day by looking 5 years down the road, not knowing what all could happen in that time.  So, while still keeping the long-range plans in mind, I hone in my focus to what is right in front of me now.  I concentrate on those things, knowing that they will help me get to the long-range goals.

4.  American made is always best.  As I was plowing through my game, watching ball after ball get sucked to the gutters, I happened to notice that my ball was made in China.  I also happened to notice that the ball of the woman on the lane next to us, who was sharing our ball return, was made in the USA, and her ball kept hitting the pins, giving her strikes and spares.  I could only deduce that her American-made ball was a better performing one.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 😉

Do you like bowling?  What are some ways bowling relates to business that I missed?

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Hi! Sara here! I'm the CEO and Master Artisan here at Coastal Carolina Soap Co. I started out as a hobbyist and started Sara's Soaps 'n Such, which I owned for 14 years. Coastal Carolina Soap Co. was borne out of my love for the North Carolina coast and its natural beauty, and we're bringing that beauty to you in our soaps and body products.

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