Laura Petrolino

Growing a Business: The Jump Shot Strategy

By: Laura Petrolino | February 4, 2015 | 

Growing a Business: The Jump Shot Strategy By Laura Petrolino

The invention of the jump shot is a story anyone growing a business should use as a template for success (not to mention motivation).

Kenny Sailors, a former point guard for Wyoming’s 1943 NCAA championship team is now in his 90s.

He’s credited for inventing and perfecting the one-handed jump shot.

If the mere fact that one man can be credited with creating such a well known—and game changing—shot wasn’t enough, Sailors’ motivation for the creation of the shot is what really sets him, and it, apart.

You see, at his full height of 5’10”, Sailors really wasn’t what you would consider a natural born basketball player. But he loved the game and was determined to make the best of his (somewhat short) assets, to play to the best of his ability.

Growing up he often played against his older and taller (6’5”) brother Bud and became frustrated at having shot after shot after shot blocked.

Thus the jump shot was born…not from a man genetically gifted at the game he loved, but from a man who used and embraced his biggest shortcoming to find a way to be successful.

Planning Success through Obstacles

Successful business planning comes from understanding your strengths and weakness, your obstacles and opportunities—and pulling them all together to build something that maximizes the strengths, minimizes the struggles, and leverages the complete package to achieve your goals.

When we go about developing a strategy for a client, our first step is a research and analysis phase. This is where we dig into the client’s business—their business plan, sales process, industry, and competitors.

We review research, any existing analytics and metrics, and talk to the client team to really understand where they feel strengths and weaknesses lie.

We finish up this stage with a complete SWOT analysis looking at all four media types.

We do all of this so we can create a “jump shot strategy.” A plan that fully accounts for the client’s strengths and weaknesses, and reveals any potential opportunities.

That’s exactly what Kenny did.

Growing a Business Requires Risk

Being a smart risk taker is a important skill in growing a business, and a quality we look for when choosing team members and evaluating potential clients.

In most cases not being a risk taker won’t ruin you, but it will prevent you from reaching the level you could.

When Kenny created the jump shot, almost everyone was shooting with two hands, and no one’s feet left the floor. Kenny broke the mold to find a solution that worked. And it worked well.

Risk is scary, but whether it’s growing a business, playing sports, or just life in general, if you aren’t a bit scared you aren’t living up to your full potential.

Dribbling through Obstacles

Not only was Sailors a one shot wonder (pun totally intended), he had the ability to continue to navigate obstacle after obstacle and dribble his way to a becoming a consensus All-Americanhelping his Cowboys win the National title.

Life and work is and always will be about navigating obstacles, about controlling the only thing you can…your ball.

It’s about understanding that the phrase, “the ball is in your court,” really is accurate.

Sailors had the direction and focus needed to navigate past endless obstacles and get the ball to the hoop. A skill easier said than done in work, life, and sport.

I got to thinking that if I could dribble up to him—I was a pretty good dribbler—and then just jump as high as I could in the air and shoot the ball that I may not make it but at least I would try,  Sailors said. But at least I would try.

A phrase that makes the difference between someone who finds a way to push past their weaknesses and insecurities, and someone who lets them be permanent obstacles.

Success and growing a business require a certain amount of disconnection from an immediate outcome. Long-term growth strategies often don’t result in immediate gratification.

Instead they require a lot of endurance.

Knowing When to Let Go

And in the end, after you’ve tried and experimented, measured and analyzed, tweaked and perfected, a certain amount of success comes from knowing when to just let go.

It’s about deciding when the right time to take your perfect shot is, jumping and just letting go.

As Sailors so aptly puts it:

You don’t shoot it on the way up, you don’t shoot it on the way down, you have to take the shot right at the peak of your jump.

Photo credit: Makena G via photopin cc

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.