They are referred to as zebras but their ‘real’ title is official or referee. They stand right in the middle of the chaos and decide when someone breaks the rules, goes out of bounds, or catches the ball.
The referees all follow the same basic signals which tell us what went wrong or right. As entrepreneurs, we can learn how referee’s signals can help us in our businesses. The various signals let us know when something has gone wrong, when we’re making progress, and when we’ve made a touchdown.
Crowd Noise Signal – Are you spending too much time on non-business related conversations or out on errands when you should be working? Do you spend half your day opening, reading, and responding to emails? Excessive crowd noise in a game creates a virtually impossible situation for the visiting offense to communicate. It may be time to hush the crowd noise in your home office by focusing on tasks at hand first. This same signal can also mean dead ball. When you foolishly waste your most productive time doing non-productive tasks, it can mean a dead ball as far as your time. Quiet crowd noise and focus on your priority list.
Personal Foul Signal – This comes in many forms; roughing the kicker, roughing the passer or face mask. As business owners, we are often kicked around by rude vendors, high maintenance clients, or even social media discussions that get out of hand. Let’s make sure we aren’t the ones causing personal fouls and penalty yards to others by our bad behavior and loose lips.
Time Out Signal – When you’ve been working hard, accomplishing your to-do list with a vengeance, and not wasting time with non-essentials, it’s o.k. to take a time-out. Take Friday afternoon and get a massage. Meet with a friend for some ice-cream. I take every Wednesday mid-day to attend a Bible Study at my church for an hour (www.corchurch.org). Time outs are good when they refresh you and get you back in the game.
Player Being Disqualified Signal – Don’t disqualify yourself with negative thoughts or a defeated attitude. You won’t please every client every time. Sometimes, it’s just not a good client/vendor match. You disqualify yourself when you give up or work lazily.
First Down Signal – Gain 10 business yards by sending a handwritten note to a client. Include a personalized article, relating to your client’s interests. Call your present or former clients just to say hello and ask how their business is doing. Send an email and include a helpful tip that your client can put to use right away.
Touchdown Signal – You have scored! You’ve nailed a project exactly how your client was expecting it. You’ve received a glowing endorsement from a client, raving about your service or product. You’ve reached a major milestone in your business plan. Feel free to do a victory dance in your end zone.