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Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? – Part Two

In last week’s blog, I introduced you to a fascinating book I’ve just finished reading called “Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?” which offered strategic tools that can be applied to business management and finance. It is co-written by Ben Hunt-Davis and Harriet Beveridge.

Ben won Gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and both him and Harriet are now performance and leadership development coaches. They take what Ben learnt from winning Gold at the Olympics and help business owners apply those same strategies in their own businesses.

Last week I introduced the book. This week I wanted to highlight some of the things I learnt from the book, and how I’m now trying to apply them in my own business.

Here goes!


We all know the importance of setting goals, writing them down and then monitoring progress. However, one of the things Ben talks about in the book when thinking about goals, is that “great goals are an expression of what is fundamentally important to us”. So for Ben, winning Olympic Gold was massively important and so his goals centred around that.

So for instance, when people asked him if the early mornings were really hard, his response was that he got out of bed knowing what he wanted to do and why he wanted to do it. He still sets his alarm today, knowing exactly what he’s going to do tomorrow – what tomorrow’s specific goal is – because as he says: “if I just think I have loads of stuff to do…. I’ll hit the snooze button”.

My Takeaway: Link your goals to something that is fundamentally important to you personally – otherwise when the going gets tough….. your goal will simply disappear because it was never that important to you in the first place.


One of the things Ben talked about under motivation is something he called “flicking the switch”. In other words, whether it was a competition or an early morning training session, it didn’t matter, when the guys got into the boat it was focus time!

No messing around, now it was time to make sure your mind was in the boat – not elsewhere. That meant “flicking the switch”.

My Takeaway: Likewise, in business, there are times when you need to “flick the switch” – in other words, it’s focus time. Take for example, writing this blog – it should take about an hour of my time. I have two options: I can write a paragraph or two, then stop, check my emails, make a phone call, check what I’ve got on tomorrow etc OR I can “flick the switch”, focus and get it done!

Being Process Driven

I found this chapter particularly helpful. Ben describes one of the races in the run up to the Sydney Olympics. In the planning meeting prior to the race, the guys decided their focus would not be on winning the race, or even getting a medal. Rather, their focus would be on “rowing with an effective rhythm” – working as a team, moving the boat.

In other words, rather than focusing on the result, namely winning; they focused on the process, which was to row with an effective rhythm. He says in the book, “they focused totally on a really good rhythm and they could feel it as they rowed” In other words, they were being process driven.

My Takeaway: Whatever it may be, winning Olympic Gold, building a business, closing a sale, getting fit – focus on the process, trust the process and the results and success will take care of themselves.

I could go on…. there were so many good takeaways. But probably the best thing you can do is to get a copy of the book! In the meantime, if you want to find out more click here to go to Ben’s website.