There’s a saying in football, “Let the ball do the work.”

Younger footballers are aggressive and energetic.

When a pass comes to them, they trap the ball.

Stop it, take possession of it, then decide what to do with it.

This takes time and wastes energy.

And it’s not always necessary.

Sometimes the ball is going the right way anyway.

All you have to do is let it run and follow it.

This uses less energy.

Which means you’ll be able to play for longer without getting tired.

Most goals come in the last ten minutes of the game.

When defenders are getting tired.

So it’s smart to conserve your energy.

That way you can take advantage, as others get weaker.

By doing as little unnecessary work as possible.

In other words, don’t work hard, work smart.

In the morning I wake up to Christian O’Connell on Absolut FM.

As a radio show it’s nothing special.

Just some MOR music in the background while I come alive.

But what does impress me is his promotions.

A while back he had one called ‘We Pay Your Bills’.

What listeners do is send in a monthly bill: credit card, electricity, mortgage, whatever.

He puts them all into a box, mixes them up and draws one out.

Then you’ve 15 minutes to call in and get your bill paid.

After that you’ll be too late.

So he tells everyone to make sure all your friends and family are listening.

So they can call you and tell you if your bill is chosen.

To make sure you don’t miss it.

How clever is that?

For everyone that sends in a bill, he gets at least another dozen listeners.

So if a hundred people each send a bill in, he gets another thousand listeners.

He uses his listeners to do his recruiting for him.

And he only has to pay one bill.

Let the ball do the work.

He did a similar thing a few months later.

He had a promotion called ‘Who’s Calling Christian?”

If his listeners spot a celebrity, they should go up to them and explain that they could get £20,000 for their favourite charity.

Just by calling Christian O’Connell and doing a phone interview.

At the end of which they can do a pitch for their favourite charity.

And, at the end of the month, all the listeners would vote on who did the best interview.

And so which charity to give the money to.

How clever is that?

They get their listeners to act as their celebrity spotters and arrange the phone-ins.

They get an interview they can broadcast as often as they want.

And they get to appear to be doing it for humanitarian reasons.

By giving the money to charity.

And of course, no celebrity can be seen to resist the chance to raise £20,000 for charity.

So he got some amazing phone interviews.

Some of the celebs his listeners got to phone in were: William Shatner, Henry Winkler (The Fonz), Barry Gibb, Boris Johnson, Simon Cowell, Dawn French, Liam Gallaher, Teddy Sheringham, Rod Stewart, Roger Moore, Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Winslett, and Tony Blair.

In fact it probably works out to less than £1,000 per celebrity.

Plus all the good will.

And no one at the radio station has to lift a finger.

How brilliant is that.

Everyone wins.

Similarly, if you ever travel on the tube in the evenings you’ll know about the free papers: London Lite and TheLondonPaper.

My son told me he preferred London Lite.

He said he liked the column called ‘Get It Off Your Text’.

I usually look around in the tube carriage and, sure enough, this seems to be the first thing everyone turns to.

It’s a column made up of about 20 short text messages.

Apparently the public send loads of them in during the day.

Then the staff at London Lite pick the best ones.

So you get your readers to actually write your best feature for you.

Readers even send texts replying to the previous day’s texts.

Sort of like a newspaper version of Twitter.

Which means all your readers turn to it straight away.

Which means they pick your paper instead of the competition.

Which is maybe part of the reason London Lite’s competition, TheLondonPaper, has just gone out of business.


Let the ball do the work.