Bang! Success is a Learned Habit

By Keith Lubner, Co-Founder of Channel EQ.

Success is a result of a learned habit.  Remember this phrase as you read further.  It’s important and something that most organizations should adhere to…but they don’t.  They make excuses for their people or their processes.  They make mistakes but do not learn from them.  Growth stagnates….and executives wonder “why” ?

Those organizations that go-to-market through a channel have major challenges these days, but none more important than the challenge elevating the performance of their people.  It’s not a product issue.  It’s a people issue.

Success is a result of a learned habit.  Take a look at the game of football.  Specifically, let’s examine the placekicker on any team.  When one really examines the team, there is no other position that truly benefits more from having a routine  than the placekicker.  Think about it.  He sits on the sideline and is in the game for seconds at a time.  But, during those times he is placed under enormous pressure to perform.  The team relies on him to come through.  Take a look at when he actually gets into the game.  He is very methodical and goes through a very specific routine, often starting with pacing off the exact yardage of where he wants to kick the ball, the exact spot where he wants the ball placed, and the exact amount of steps he wants to take when he strikes the ball.  Don’t kid yourself though.  The kicker has prepared for these moments by practicing over and over again.  In fact, he practices so much that it becomes a habit so when he’s called upon to hit the last second field to win the game, he can do it.  The team’s success is a result of his habit.

Success is a result of a learned habit.  Take a look at the game of golf.  Some people say that no other sport requires more of a routine or habit than golf does.  Look at any tournament and notice that EVERY SINGLE PLAYER has a routine before EVERY shot – driver, iron, wedge, and putter.  EVERY swing of the club is prefaced by a routine – a routine learned through the repetition of a swing taught by a teacher.  From the local club champions to the best golfers in the world, repeating a good swing is the key to winning.  It’s a habit.

Success is a result of a learned habit.  Take a look at what we can learn from the game of basketball and specifically from the greatest college basketball game ever played.  Now, I’ll probably get arguments over this so let me say that multiple media outlets and sports pundits alike have coined the game as “the greatest”.  The point is the ending.  You’ll see.

Back and forth, the teams fought all game.  In the first half, one team takes a lead by five points.  In the second half, the other team fights back and not only closes the gap but manages to lead the game by 10 points with about 5 minutes to go.  Seemingly the game is in hand.  Then, the magic starts to happen.  The team that was down comes back and through pure grit and determination and an epic three-point shot, ties the game.

North Carolina 74.  Villanova 74.   4.7 seconds left in the game.  The world thinks the game is going to overtime.  North Carolina just tied the game with the most unbelievable of shots  – a twisting, double pump, desperation shot that miraculously falls through  the basket.  Villanova calls timeout.  They needed to gather themselves after just giving up a 10 point lead.  As the kids from both teams (and don’t forget – these are eighteen to twenty-two year olds) walk to their respective benches to huddle up, one can feel the tension in the air.

On the North Carolina side, the coaches are telling the players to “play ‘D’ for 4.7 seconds and they are going to overtime.”

On the Villanova side, a unique play wasn’t being designed.  Instead, one word was spoken:  “Nova”.  It’s a play that is specifically designed for the last 5 seconds of a game.  One of the assistant coaches looked over at one of the younger players and noticed that he was visibly nervous.  To the normal viewer, one would think that this is completely understandable.  But, the assistant coach said something interesting to the player:  “why are you nervous, you practice this play EVERY day”.   One play.  5 seconds left in a game.  They practice it EVERY day.  What happens next is now legendary.

Villanova inbounds the ball.  Their star guard dribbles the ball up the left side of the court, weaves around a “pick” (a purposeful  play by his teammate), and then he gives a soft shovel pass to his other teammate who was trailing after inbounding the ball himself.  The teammate catches the ball, squares up to the basket, and calmly shoots the ball.  As the player shoots, the coach of Villanova, Jay Wright, mouths the word “bang” (as in, ‘bang, it’s in !’ ).  It’s a habit of his to do this.  In mid-flight, the game clock ticks to zero.  The ball goes in and Villanova wins!   It was amazing.  The students are going wild.  Social media erupts.  People are honking horns, screaming in delight, and hugging.  It was a miracle.  But was it really?

In the post game press conferences,  the players and coaches were asked about the last play.  EVERY one of them responded with the word “Nova”, and then elaborated that they practice this play EVERY day .  It was learned.  It was a habit.  It won them the championship.

Adapting to your situation so that you can ultimately thrive is key.  It’s what the placekicker, golfer, and basketball team above did.  Channel organizations and the people who lead them need to learn what these people and teams have learned, that success is a learned habit.  It doesn’t happen with one workshop.   It doesn’t happen with one speech.  It happens through consistent and continual learning that will create good habits.  It happens with a laser focus on influencing the three key pillars that drive channel growth:

  • Economic
  • Technical
  • Social

People forget about the last pillar, social.  But we are here to tell you that, in fact,  it’s probably the most important one as it drives and influences the other two.  Create the right habits within each one of these pillars and you win.

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