Who do you bounce your ideas off of?

I have been playing basketball with my kids over the past year. We set up two nets in our front yard and are able to play a proper game.

Basket ball (no, this is not a spelling error) was invented by a Canadian physician and minister — Dr. James Naismith — who was actually brought up in a house about 20 minutes from where we live. Dr. Naismith was a member of the faculty at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was looking for an indoor game to keep college kids in shape over the long winters, when he heard about an old Mayan sport. He nailed a peach basket to a post at a height of 10 feet, brought out a soccer ball, and had his students play on a court the size of about 1/2 the length of today’s NBA courts. When a player would shoot the ball into the peach basket, someone needed to get a stick to knock it out!

The game has evolved since 1891; in the 50’s they switched from a brown ball to an orange ball, as it was easier for the players and the spectators to see. Dribbling was also later introduced.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed a substantial increase in the "dunk" rate of my kids. They are making a lot more baskets than before. I was curious about what their secret was. It turns out that they have both figured out the role of the backboard, and are using it consistently to bounce the ball off of and, more times than not, it makes it into the net.

Bouncing ideas off of people is also a way of making better decisions. When you dance around the rim of issues, and try to hit the mark without the benefit of the backboard, you can often miss the point.

3 Traits of a Good Backboard 1. It must be the proper size and shape, 2. It should contain a well outlined area to hit, and 3. It must be the right density.

3 Traits of the Right Person to bounce ideas off of 1. They must have the right level of experience, with a level headed approach to problems in general, 2. It should be someone who can ask logical questions, and 3. They should be tough enough to be honest, yet respectful.

Often, one of the comments my clients make upon taking one of our programs is how easily they are able to bounce their ideas off of me – to test them out and reflect on them to see if they are on the right track. My role is to be objective, and to give feedback to help them refine their ideas, from career choices to job searches. In a majority of cases, the client gets much better results than if they went through the process by themselves.

This week’s 10 Minute WORKout: What kinds of decisions have you been able to bounce off of your network of friends and colleagues? Who do you need to add to your network to help make better decisions?

Along the road with you,

Alan Kearns