The Six Nations rugby championship kicked off this weekend just passed, pitting the best European international squads from France, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales against each other in a gruelling six-weeks of test matches. Ireland, the defending champions began their campaign in Rome against Italy on Saturday with a young debutant, Ian Keatley, playing in the crucial out-half position.

The young man gave a very good account of himself in Ireland’s victory by 26 points to 3 over the Italians in a solid performance, but admitted in a post-match interview that he had been very nervous before the game. One of his predecessors in the position, the now retired Ronan O’Gara commented that as the young man gains more exposure to the game at this level his skill, competence and confidence will grow as the boundaries of his experience expand.

I’m reminded of many of the challenges faced by my clients in the business world when contemplating the risks and challenges of expanding the boundaries of their own activities, whether that be entering a new market segment, launching overseas exports or investing in new technologies. It struck me that the truth is, you can only build the skill, competence and confidence required to succeed in these endeavours if you actually get in the game.

No amount of data analysis, scenario planning or options evaluation are going to give you that. These activities of course are necessary, but beyond a certain point of reasonable and diligent analysis, they become dysfunctional and paralyse rather than energise.

Over the last twenty years or so, I have had the privilege of working with dozens of business managers and owners of many nationalities all over the world. For me, what differentiates the best of these is the willingness to actually get in the game, take action and start making things happen.

Of course, things don’t always go to plan or turn out as expected. There are many tests and trials, obstacles and setbacks along the way. The funny thing is that in actual fact things often work out a good deal better than expected as the skills, competence and confidence gained build like compound interest through exposure to the cut and thrust of business at a new level.

Isn’t it now time for you to get in the game?

21st Century Warehousing: Strategy and Operation

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