Business & Leadership Behaviors Random Thoughts

Taking the Outside Shot – A Little Inspiration from Notre Dame

This past weekend was a little crazy. There were Easter eggs, NCAA Basketball games, and even a few April Fools worthy events (April snow showers, chocolate covered brussel sprouts – ugh!).

One of the things that really made me smile was Notre Dame’s last second shot in the Championship Game. It was bold, it was perfect – and it won the game.

The thing that I loved the most about that shot was that the shooter (the talented Arike Ogunbowale) didn’t have time to think. She took a chance and just shot the ball.

As a Project Manager, I think a lot about Risk Mitigation. If I do this PM gig by the book, there’s formal risk analysis, processes, and plans (yes, we have plans for everything).

But when you spend so much time thinking about risk, you lose some of the boldness that you need to try something different – to step out of your comfort zone and take a chance. As a result, you may miss out on experiencing something great – all for the sake of being safe.

When we were kids, we seemed much bolder. We tried things like riding bikes, swimming, launching ourselves off skateboard jumps – and other things that our mothers may or may not know about. While we may have a few scars to show for the experience, we stretched ourselves and found some capabilities that we may not have realized were there.

Find the Balance

I’m not advocating that we just run out blindly and try things that might fall into the realm of Daredevil or Complete Lunatic. Clearly that wasn’t Ms. Ogunbowale first attempt at shooting a basketball. She obviously put in a TON of work over a TON of time to be able to play at that level.

I just think that there is a balance to be struck between assessing the risk, doing the work to prepare and then taking the step forward. I think we’ve all be witness to (or part of) Analysis Paralysis. Or maybe you got past that stage and were able to prototype a product or pilot a solution – only to have it shut down due to fear of failure (or some result less than complete success).

In business, we often get held back by risks. This isn’t surprising given how fiercely competitive many industries are today. Combine that with tight budgets and the potential downsides of taking chances (financial losses, impacts to partnerships and reputation and other catastrophic results) and it’s amazing that anything new does make it to the market.

Sometimes we get so bogged down with What if we Fail? that we lose sight of What if we Succeed?

And, believe it or not the notion of success can inspire a good chunk of fear too. We humans are complicated beings, huh?

Taking the Shot

Over the nearly 20 years that HL Group has been in business, the landscape of technology has changed significantly. And while it seems easier to stay the course and do what we’ve always done, the prudent thing (and risky thing) for us is to step into some new directions.

Most of our history surrounds providing integration services for supply chain solutions – and honestly, we’re very good at it. But the next right step for us it to put more focus and development on our mobile inventory solution.

That change alters our whole business structure. We’re no longer pure solution integrators. Rather, we’re becoming software manufacturers. This shift alters our engineering focus, our business relationships and our revenue streams.

Is it a risky venture? Absolutely. But we’ve weighed those risks, are doing the work to make sure we’re ready – and are taking the leap.

Over the next several weeks, you’ll hear more about some of our changes around here. We think it’s the right move for our customers, our partners, our solutions and our team.

It can be scary and daunting. But we think it’s worth the risk – and we’re taking the shot.



Anne Hale is the Director of Client Services at HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile inventory management and warehouse solutions. She manages our client engagements, works with Wes Haubein on sales and marketing and has never made a 3-point shot in her life (but she does have other fine qualities).