Balance (Issue 566)

In which we are reminded that specific, focused objectives will help us sustain our effort and maintain our balance when managing account relationships.

I stand on one leg when I brush my teeth.


During the minutes I’m brushing my teeth, I stand on one leg. And not just stand.  I “lay out,” meaning that I lean forward until my chest is about 30% above horizontal and I extend one leg behind me so that my heel is about 30 degrees below horizontal.  I hold that position for about two minutes and brush my teeth.  Then, I switch tooth brushes and switch legs so that the other leg is extended behind me. Two more brushing minutes. **

“Um… interesting, Nick. Why did you start this?”

Well, I wanted Tai Chi benefit #10, improved balance and stability by strengthening ankles and knees, and I noticed I had some down staring into the mirror, examining facial pores while I was brushing my teeth. And, while I could have done something simple like “lift your foot three inches from the floor,” what’s the sport in that?  So, I lay out and brush.

While explaining this to my generally-one-step-ahead-of-me wife (who, it turned out, had developed her own tooth brushing movement system independently of mine), she said, “try that with your eyes closed.”

Huh, sure, no problem, piece of cake.  The next morning, I picked up brush 1, assumed the layout position, balanced, started brushing, closed my eyes, and …. promptly,  fell over.  Tried again.  Lurched into the opposite wall.

Turns out – at least for me, balancing on one leg goes MUCH better with my eyes open because … I use visual cues for balancing.  I can sustain the layout pose the longest and the most steadily if I keep my head up and focus intently on  a particular fixed object several feet away from me.  The further away the object, the better the balance.  Helps me steady my head and reduce “over-correction” when I need to adjust.

And, so it is:  We need balance when we’re managing account relationships. The more complex the relationships, the more we need balance.  Balancing our time and energy among accounts. Balancing our time within the account. Balancing the resources and specialists we bring from our organizations.

If we keep our eyes open to the client environment and focus intently on a fixed object some distance in front of us – an account objective, say, solving a particular client challenge, or doing business with particular buying centers, or booking a certain amount of revenue, we can manage the balance better, reduce ‘over-correction,’ and, presumably, hold the relationship “pose” longer to achieve our objectives.

Working an account relationship without the fixed point visual reference, the account objective, is like standing on one leg with one’s eyes closed.  Loss of direction and balance comes almost immediately.

**From the “Don’t Try This At Home, These People Are Professionals” Department: If you try this at home, be careful! Make sure you’re close enough to a wall or some other touch point to steady yourself when needed.

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