The smallest thing you can do to dramatically improve your performance.

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 As one of the best tango dancers told me, it’s finding a new pair of shoes (aka finding the best tool for your core job).

I’ve been dancing tango for five years now. Two years ago, I asked one of the best tango dancers in the world what was the smallest improvement I could make to achieve maximum impact in Tango?

His answer:

Buy a new pair of shoes. With a good pair of shoes you will be able to pivot better and smoothly slide on the floor so your dance will be more circular. When the dance is more circular, the girls enjoy it more, thus dramatically improving your dance.

This was totally unexpected and mind-blowing. The more I thought about it, the better I was connecting the dots. There are definitely many other things you need to do in order to dance tango well — you need a lot of learning and practice, you need courage and perseverance. But, like in any other domain, there is one main tool, the most important one which lays the groundwork for mastery: the tango shoes.

After realising this, I started wondering how this might apply to my startup. Although, things for entrepreneurs are more complex than for tango dancers, I think there’s still one main tool you’re consistently using to do your core job. Your tango shoes. And it doesn’t change when the startup begins to grow because the core job is the same. This means that recognising that tool, making sure that you’re using the best of its kind while making the most of it translates into achieving maximum impact with minimum effort.

What I recommend is to find that tool, optimise the way you’re using it until you master the thing, and keep an eye out for other similar tools that may dramatically improve your performance.

When you do this, there are 3 main potentially problematic mindsets I experienced in my entrepreneurial quest or noticed while talking to other startup founders:

I’m obsessed with finding new tools:

You know how important tools are, and you’re actively looking for sources to find new tools to make sure that you are up to date. The risk here is that you may not spend enough time using each tool because a new one shows up on your radar. So you’re not able to achieve mastery.

The best tool is the one you’re using.

Sometimes you’re stuck with one tool that you were supposed to achieve mastery, and you don’t realise that new tools might be way better than the one you’re accustomed to. It’s like dancing with the same pair of shoes because you love them, but they’re now a piece of crap. You need new ones.

Tools are not important

This scenario is the most prevailing because people starting companies come from a different background. It’s like they’re using climbing shoes to dance tango.

So the best thing you can do next is to sit down for 30 minutes and ask yourself what tool you are using the most and if it’s the best tool out there for your startup. If so, congrats! You’re on the right path.

If it’s not, finding your core tool and making sure that you’re using the best of its kind, is the smallest thing you can do to dramatically increase your productivity and success.

Being a founder, you’re probably part of a team. Ask them the same two questions and make sure everybody finds his or her tango shoes.

 
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