I have never been much of an athlete or paid much attention to athletes. However, recently I was talking with a Tennis professional who made me look at the game of tennis differently. He challenged me to observe how a great tennis player moves around the court always trying to position himself in the best manner possible in relation to the ball and his opponent. What I realized and discovered in this profound conversation was that most people watch a tennis match and the only thing they see is how hard someone hits the tennis ball. They ignore all the things that the player does before the shot is undertaken to best position themselves for success. Next time you watch a tennis match ignore watching the tennis ball and watch how your favorite player glides across the court always seeking to position himself for the best possible opportunity for success.
I learned that newbies to the game of tennis want to hit the ball hard and because of that intense desire they rarely master the fundamentals of the game. In tennis, I learned that position and form are senior to everything else. If you have good positioning and form you can focus on things like placement, spin and eventually power. Bad tennis players ignore positioning and form and their game suffers terribly because of it.
Business is very similar.
I have worked with vendors and distributors for long periods of time before an opportunity presented itself that was exploitable by me. However with every transaction that I was engaged in I was focused on making sure that I was positioning myself and my company with the best probability for success.
An accountant will make you think that business is all about the numbers.
I would argue that there are a ton of things that occur before those numbers start showing up on the cash register.
That is what positioning for success is all about.