Think “Next Play” For The New Year

Sam HarrisonDuke Blue Devils basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will often shout “next play!” to his players as they run past him during games.

That’s because Coach K doesn’t want his team fretting over a foul, steal or missed shot that just took place on the other end of the court. He wants his players in the moment, preparing for their next moves.

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO, recently told the New York Times that “next play!” has become an unofficial mantra at his firm. And it could be a great rallying cry for you and your team as you surge into 2013.

Think “next play!” with failed projects.

“If you don’t fill your mental bandwidth with the things most people worry about, you have more room to think, ask question and create,” says Steven Dubner, co-author of Super Freakonomics.

Reflect on 2012’s mistakes and learn their lessons. Then leave those failures behind to free your mind for fresh ideas.

Think “next play! with co-worker conflicts.

Chances are you stepped on a few toes at work during the year. And maybe some folks stomped on yours.

If you feel regret or resentment with any work relationships, stop saying “if only” and start saying “next time.” Review those relationships to see which need repairing and which need rebuilding. And then shift into positive action.

Think “next play!” with tired-out inspiration.

What fired you up in 2012 could slow you down in 2013. Take a look at your usual suspects for inspiration – artwork, blogs, magazines, films, music, nearby or distant getaways, whatever – and see if they continue to inspire you or if they’re beginning to tire you.

Hold on to what works and let go of what’s weary. Enter 2013 with fresh fuel for your creativity.

Next play!

Sam Harrison is a speaker, workshop leader and writer on creativity-related topics and presentation skills. His books include IdeaSelling: Successfully pitch your creative ideas to bosses, clients and other decision makers, IdeaSpotting: How to find your next great idea, and Zing!: Five steps and 101 tips for creativity on command. Find him at