Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

Better the Ball

Last Friday Allan Cowan, our Louisville Fund for the Arts Director wrote in his weekly email broadcast about a concept he heard second hand from Ann Coffey, the Exec of our Women4Women initiative from Julie Hermann, U of L’s Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator, Ann shared a team concept with Allan from Julie:  “Better the ball.”

“Simply put”, Allan wrote, “in athletics if you catch a bad pass then you have an absolute obligation to literally improve the ball as you pass it to your teammate. No excuses.” Apparently in sports as well as in business the team’s first contact is always the most difficult. No matter what happens on the first contact, the second contact is pivotal. Bettering the ball means that no matter how bad the contact before you was, your job is to improve upon it.

What a great concept with much broader applications in customer service, marketing, and operations. If each and every one of us thought about how we could “better the ball” then there would always be planning, observation, readiness and an attitude of true teamwork.

This week I presented at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice in Dallas, following President George W. Bush and before the Caring Award ceremony. I tried to “better the ball” sandwiched in between those two events, and from the attentiveness of the audience, I somewhat succeeded. The presentation was on social media usage for home care. What I learned from the audience is that folks still really do not understand this concept of sharing and two way communication with the customer. However, usage and dabbling in social media is definitely up!

My next social media presentation is at the Decision Health 13th Annual Private Duty Conference in Las Vegas in November, followed by the 2010 Kentucky Home Health Association Fall Conference & Exhibition in Louisville. Each and every time I present on social media, things change, new players emerge, and new strategies come to mind.

While continuing to learn how to best use the power of social media I am going to also focus on how to “better the ball” and use some of those strategies that I have learned since finding out about that concept:

Hustle. Move quickly and do your best.

Assess Your Position. Think about where you are in relation to the goal and your teammates. Are your teammates following you? Who is in the lead and/or has the best position to win?

Make a Realistic Choice. Don’t try to be heroic. Keeping the ball in play is necessary if you want to score. By keeping the ball in play you are giving your team a chance to defend and to possibly score. If  you try to make an overly difficult play from a bad position, you may end up scoring a point for the other team. 🙁

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