Now that you have learned about the On The Ball Quadrants, it begs the question as to what factors influence which quadrant you might be in at a given point and time. Before we jump into those traits, let's take a moment and summarize what being On The Ball is not about:
It is NOT about MONEY
Clearly money is a big motivating factor to being On The Ball professionally, and doing better financially. If you are in sales, or another position that is rewarded by commissions and/or bonuses, chances are you are going to do better for yourself if you are On The Ball. However, money or personal wealth does not guarantee that you are On The Ball by any stretch, and if anything, is a by-product of being On The Ball, not an influencing factor. In fact, we can all think of examples of people who do have money, or come into riches, that overall we wouldn't consider to be On The Ball (and maybe don't even know the ball exists). Additionally, there are even people who were once On The Ball, and once getting a taste of wealth, lost their way, and fell off the ball, by doing irrational things with their money. Finally, we can also think of people that live very modestly, don't have much money to their name, or perhaps are just starting out in their careers, that you would consider to be very much On The Ball. Money does not determine your quadrant.
It is NOT about EDUCATION
Similarly, having a degree from a private, four-year university is not an automatic pass to being On The Ball, either. There are plenty of Achievers in life who dropped out of college, or perhaps did not attend college at all. By comparison, there are many who managed to get through those four year programs, left with a diploma, and are still not On The Ball after all of those experiences. Many formally educated people can lack the traits that we're going to highlight below as the actual On The Ball influencing factors.
It is NOT about PERSONAL BELIEFS
Finally, as with money and education, no religion, nationality, culture, or political affiliation has a monopoly towards being On The Ball. People who are On The Ball come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. You may not see eye to eye with someone regarding a particular topic, but that doesn't prevent the two of you from both being on the ball. In fact, part of what makes someone a "1" is the ability to acknowledge and respect that people do have differences.
So if we're in agreement that becoming an Achiever and getting On The Ball is not about money, education, or personal beliefs, then there must be some other common denominators that separate those who are on the ball from those who are not. These 8 Traits are highlighted below, and each explored in more detail as to how they align with the On The Ball Theory framework.
Foundational to being On The Ball is Integrity. Others will always hold you accountable, both personally and professionally, but your ability to hold yourself accountable is critical to staying On The Ball. When no one is looking, other than yourself in the mirror, can you trust yourself to do the right thing?
A close second as a foundational trait to being On The Ball is lifelong Curiosity - the pursuit and desire to constantly learn and grown our knowledge and experiences. We've mentioned that the Balls on our lives evolve over time, and our ability to stay on top of them is driven by the ability to constantly expose ourselves to new and interesting things.
Problem Solving is a critical On The Ball trait, and broad enough to split into parts - Problem Recognition, where we really appreciate the root cause of an issue, independent of how it is solved, and Decision Making used to actually solve the problem, whether it is on your own or with others, a large or small effort, easy or challenging to accomplish, or require an innovative approach to finally solve.
Communication skills is another multi-facet trait, in that the ability to listen to others, and interpret information for learning, and understanding problems, is just as important and ability to convey information to others, whether written, spoken, or visual. Our methods of communication have become so varied, rapid, and accessible, and mastery of them so essential, but a skill we often take for granted. The most brilliant people can still be poor communicators.
Edison is credited with saying "Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration." You can be a master at the other seven traits, but you have to have more than just desire, you have to have some level of drive and perseverance to complete a challenge, solve a problem, or reach an end goal. No one can make you get On The Ball, you have to do the work, and sometimes it's not easy.
PLANNING & PREPARATION
Some problems and challenges are very complex, and can be overwhelming. We are ready to take action, but paralyzed by the steps or time involved. We need to break down the complex into simple, and lean on other traits to look to others for help when needed, clearly communicate what has to be accomplished, and maintain the focus and drive to follow the plan through to its completion.
Last, but not least, is Leadership. Those that are truly On The Ball leverage their leadership skills to not only keep themselves On The Ball, and maintain the confidence and positivity we expect from leaders, but are able to use those skills in helping others get On The Ball with them. Leaders can help establish clear purpose and goals for groups, teams, and organizations, as they strive collectively to be On The Ball as well.