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Machen MacDonald: Basics drive success

It’s always interesting to me when people ask me to teach them something new or to share the latest business building strategy with them. Before I do, I usually like to check in and ask, “how did you do on implementing the last idea, concept or strategy you learned about?” The response I usually receive is, “there wasn’t enough time to do anything with it,” or “I tried it once or twice but it didn’t really work very well.”

Those that are continually looking for the latest fix to their ongoing problems, the key word here is -ongoing, are usually not erudite and practiced at the basic skills needed to do their job effectively. While on the contrary, those that are experiencing perpetual progress are proficient at the basics.

The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who won a record 10 national championships, demanded that his team be brilliant at the basics, starting with how best to tie their shoes so they did not come undone during the game and cause any unnecessary problems.



Great leaders with a mentor mindset work closely on an ongoing basis to inspire those they lead to brush up on being brilliant at the business building basics.

Results come from activity multiplied by effectiveness.




If you are succeeding, there is a high likelihood you are doing enough of the right activity in an effective way. If, however, you are not getting the results you want, then examine your activity. Are you doing what must be done to eventually yield the results you expect? Are you doing enough of it? And if you are doing so, are you doing it effectively enough?

If you are challenged, falling behind or can’t see how to get ahead, stop looking for the next fix outside of yourself and look inside of yourself and identify what basic skills you need to improve.

Here are some key questions to help you become brilliant at the basics:

What are three basic business building skills that you and/or the people you lead must be brilliant at performing in order to succeed at a higher level?

Whose brilliance (online or offline) can you borrow to become an even stronger performer of the basics?

What hour of what day will you build in as a power hour for brushing up on the basics and becoming brilliant?

What must you believe about yourself, your product or service, your customers and the economy in order to become brilliant at the basics?

Imagine raising your game in just one of the basic business building skills you indicated above. What would that ultimately lead to? Now, imagine raising your game in another, and then another…

Having taken time to answer the questions above, what does your future look like now? I suggest you lock in that vision and start sharing it with others.

The vision you imagine will create a vacuum that generates the impulses to your actions & behaviors and thereby pull you towards its realization.

Here’s to becoming brilliant at the basics! Make it up, make it fun, and you’ll get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000


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