Will it make the boat go faster?

Last Friday, I spent a full day working on the plan for Future Visions and what we’ll do to grow the business over the next 90 days. These four days are the first thing that go in to my diary each year, and it’s all because of a mantra we introduced to the business a couple of years ago, ‘will it make the boat go faster?’, which helps us to make sure that everything we do is done on purpose, and to help us to understand the importance of everything we do. I introduced it after seeing Ben Hunt-Davis speak at an event I attended.

The phrase was coined by Great Britan’s gold-medal winning Olympic rowing team in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. For the years that they trained, they held each other accountable to what they were doing by asking themselves, and each other, whether what they were doing would make the boat go faster.

That’s precisely why they didn’t attend the opening ceremony. When they asked themselves whether they should go and considered the proposition of standing for several hours, missing a scheduled mealtime and forgoing a training session, they decided that when it came to their races, it wouldn’t make the boat go faster.

The execution is slightly different in my businesses. We don’t have a boat. But we are all working towards a common goal, and we all have to ask ourselves whether what we are doing is contributing towards the growth of the company, the acquisition of the right kinds of clients and the generation of profit.

Whatever you are doing, ask yourself:

Will it make the boat go faster?

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