Chip Shots: Get ready to start the last business sprint of 2018

Summer is over. I say that not to be a buzzkill, but rather to state the obvious. It may still feel like summer — it topped 90 degrees here in New Hampshire today — but by Tuesday morning it will feel decidedly as if the summer is behind us.

Tuesday marks Day 1 of the 79 day sprint to Thanksgiving for many businesses here in the U.S. Rush hour traffic will return, as the beach and lake traffic subsides. The out-of-office messages will diminish quickly (except for those who forget to turn them off). And long, leisurely lunches will give way to a quick sandwich in the office.

And eventually the temperatures will taper off and usher in my favorite season.

Ultimately, the next 79 days will play a significant role in determining how successful 2018 will be.

Are you ready for it?

BUSINESS IS LIKE A ROAD RACE. Although I describe the next 11 weeks as a sprint, the reality is that business is a marathon. You need to find the right pace in order to succeed.

If you start out too fast, you will crash and burn — and quite possibly not finish at all.

If you are too cautious and adopt too slow of a pace, you will perform poorly and finish behind the competitors that you should be beating handily.

As business leaders, we need to set the proper pace for our own organization. It needs to be a brisk tempo, but one that can be sustained over time. If you careen from crisis to crisis and urgency to urgency, you will never reach the level of success you desire. If you don’t press your team to perform, they will similarly fall short of expectations.

Find the right rhythm and stick to it. Consistent execution will always yield the best results.

LEAVING THINGS UNSAID. As someone who believes strongly in the power of the written and spoken word, I was struck by John McCain’s funeral service. None of the speakers mentioned the President by name (or even title). Yet the common understanding that all in the cathedral and watching on television shared allowed the blanks to be filled in.

This is something that all communicators can use to their advantage at times. There is power in leaving things unsaid. It might be a double entendre or a knowing nod to a humorous story to grab an audience’s attention during a speech. Or it can be the not-so-subtle dig that comes across in a more tempered way than a direct jab.

Part of the art of communication is understanding what to leave unsaid and when to use that technique. Regardless of how you feel about the message, the speakers on Saturday delivered their message loud and clear by omitting their target’s name.

MIXING TECHNOLOGY AND POLICY. In recent years — and recent months especially — it has become increasingly clear that Washington doesn’t understand technology. And technologists don’t understand the ways of Washington.

As our society becomes ever more dependent upon technology, policymakers will continue to grapple with how to handle the implications of innovation.

Unfortunately, I have seen far too little progress on this front. I have been involved in numerous efforts over the years that attempted to bridge the gap on targeted issues, with only modest success. And these were highly-focused projects.

If we want to avoid a lot of bad policy that stifles good innovation, we need to get to a point where the technologists appreciate the role that government has to play and the way to properly educate policymakers to achieve a better outcome. And we need more policymakers who actually understand the underlying technology so you don’t see foolish displays of ignorance at congressional hearings or in the halls of legislative and regulatory bodies across the U.S. (and the globe).

DON’T GET JOBBED. But get one if you’re looking for one. Check out Media Bullseye’s 66 PR & communications career listings this week.

… Now get a good night’s rest and be ready to launch out of the starting gate for the final business sprint of 2018.

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