My wife and I spent our Friday night at the Meyerson in Dallas listening to Amy Grant and band play with the Dallas Pops Orchestra behind. It was nice, especially for my wife who is one of the biggest Amy Grant fans on the planet.
As things got started, the orchestra began the tuning process. You know the one: you hear a single note, then lots of single notes from different instruments, and then all sonic hell breaks loose for about 30 seconds. And then they just stop.
I had forgotten that the oboe is always the instrument that starts things off. The rest of the orchestra tunes to the oboe, apparently because oboes cannot adjust intonation like other instruments. In other words, the oboe is the standard for the rest of the orchestra to compare to. It is ground zero.
Everyone needs the occassional tune-up, but what are you tuning to? What is your standard, your ground zero? In the case of business and marketing, it’s entirely too easy and too tempting to chase projects beyond your area of strategic focus. Sometimes it’s a wise move; sometimes it’s not. However, it’s inevitable, at least to a certain degree.
The key is knowing what your oboe is, and taking time on a regular basis to tune accordingly. Is your firm dedicated to providing marketing help to small business? Check in every once in a while to be sure you’re not chasing too many large corporations. Are you a designer or writer who specializes and shines in the B2B market? Then limit what you chase in the B2C world.
Identify your oboe and schedule time for tuning. Otherwise, you’ll end up tuning to a trombone or timpani, and nobody wants that.