The Game Plan

“Da game is to be sold, not to be told” – Snoop Dogg

Pre-Game

I chose to share my abbreviated game plan with you, not because I have one (a lot more intricately detailed) or because of other people who might also have one, but because I know there are those who don’t. I want to provide a very abbreviated, yet engaging outline of what it takes to accomplish your goals.

1st Period

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If you’re going to make mistakes and you are, this is where you want a majority of them to happen. The game is just beginning and although you might start slow, you need to use this time to figure out whether your initial game plan is going to stand up the entire game. (You’re going to need to make adjustments, trust me). With the stakes being low right now, you need to have fun and explore (brainstorm) what might work and will be sustainable, as well as what is not going to work so you can scrap it. You should also be aware and take note (data gathering and analysis) of what might possibly go wrong later on in the game and how you’ll adjust. It’s better to have a backup plan and to never use it, then to not have one and need one later with the game on the line. Make observations of your competitor(s) (similar products, apps, services, etc.) and see what their strengths and weaknesses are and how you’re going to approach things. Be aware that your strengths and weaknesses are also exposed, which won’t really be as apparent until you start doing things. If done right, we lay down a strong foundation, that might involve some pivots later on, but will grant us the advantage of being prepared.

2nd Quarter

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Lol, this might be you or the opposing team (what you’re trying to accomplish). Regardless of the fact, points (valuable information, feedback, results, failed hypothesis, etc.) are now on the board, which need to be used to steer us towards winning. This information will either validate what you’ve been doing so far or cause you to make adjustments (pivots). You should have confirmation of what you believed to be your strengths and weaknesses now too and what needs to be changed. As you make pivots, remember that this is perfectly normal and critical to achieving your desired result of winning the game.

Halftime

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This is the time when you access the situation and ask yourself is the game worth finishing if you haven’t already (feedback should be consistent throughout your project, but you may designate a time for everyone to gather). You determine whether what you’ve been doing has been working and if not what you need to do to produce a different result the 2nd half. You discuss what went well and why, what has gone wrong and why, and what you need to do to finish the game. Some of you may quit. You may come to the conclusion that no matter what you do moving forward, you’re not going to get the desired results. However, me and Bobby Boucher ain’t no quitters. You and your team should leave halftime knowing what everybody needs to do (roles may change) in order to finish the game strong. Don’t forget to refuel on some high-quality H2O.

3rd Quarter

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As the game picks back up, your team should experience a swing of momentum (should your team be down) or a boost of confidence that what you’ve been doing has been working and that y’all should keep with it. Your offense (game plan, what you’re trying to accomplish) should be flowing more smoothly (becoming more nimble) now, as you look to make a run. Your team should be aware of key players (unlikely events that could happen, obstacles, challenges) and know how to prevent them from starting a run of their own (slowing down your team’s work). You should know this because as the game has been progressing, you’ve been taking notes/precautions and are prepared to make adjustments. At this time, the basket (goals, desired end result) should start looking big (clear, achievable) and your jumper, if you got one lol, should be warming up. Even if you don’t make every shot (there might still be hiccups), your defense should help get you back in the game.

This Distance

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Rumble young man (or woman) rumble. This is why you prepare, to go the distant, to do the unthinkable and achieve the unimaginable. Your preparation, hard work and early failings are meant to get you here and it’s up to you to close the deal. It doesn’t matter how strong/slow you start if you’re aren’t able to finish strong. Also, while this may be the homestretch of one goal, there may be many more fights (iterations, add-ons, additions, etc.)  left before obtaining the title (accomplishing your goal). I feel the picture above truly embellishes our halftime speech with Bobby, because while we may not always win the fight (do what we set out to do), we walk away with something much more valuable and as long as we learn from our mistakes, we still stand the chance to win another day (Ali v Fraiser fought 3 times, so get back in the ring). People think that failure makes them a loser, when in fact, it is never trying and not getting back up that does.

Golden Goal

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This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The countless hours and effort you put into reaching this moment are now being acknowledged. I think it goes without saying that this may or may not have been an easy feat but this moment right here is worth it. Congrats, while celebrations are due, keep in mind that after the champagne (night at the bar) that next season (your next goal) is approaching and you need to be ready again.

Extra Innings

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You know I couldn’t leave you without the closer (Sandman). This high-level framework I listed above will not be enough alone. It takes ambition, sacrifice, perseverance, and most importantly, ACTION to truly achieve greatness. Nobody is going to hand you anything, it’s up to you. However, people will help you. Never be afraid to ask for help (not handouts or for somebody to do the work for you) and even if one person (or many) says no, keep searching until you find a yes. As I close, I want to share with you a few tools, sites and books that I have read and used to help me, that might be beneficial to you.

Books-

  • In Search of Excellence – Peters Waterman
  • Strategic Acceleration- Tony Jeary
  • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Creativity, Inc – Ed Catmull
  • Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
  • Power of Broke – Daymond John
  • The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  • Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  • Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  • Search Inside Yourself – Chade-Meng Tan
  • It Starts With Food – Dallas Hartwig & Melissa Hartwig
  • Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini
  • The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis
  • Glass House – Brian Alexander

…just to name a few

Sites/Tools/Apps

Name Description Similar Apps/Sites/ Tools
OneNote Free digital notebook, that allows you collaborate with others across multiple platforms (syncs amongst smartphone, tablet and computer) Evernote
Google Doc Free Web-based application in which documents and spreadsheets can be created, edited and stored online.
Google Sheets Allows users to create, update and modify spreadsheets and share the data live online
Google Slides Bring presentations to life Prezi
Udacity Free online classes (Nanodegree you pay) Coursera
Fixr Complete cost guide for indoor, outdoor and other services ( Know how much things cost before committing too much)
WordPress Content Management Service ( I use it for blogging but you can do other things too) Drupal, Craft
How to Write a Business Proposal Learn how to write a business proposal
Flipboard Think Pinterest, but for what you’re interested in (i.e., I have technology, books, entrepreneur, etc. items filtered into mine so I’m shown articles relating to that)

I can’t possibly list everything I use, but the point is, build a sandbox and know what to use when you need it.

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