With the U.S. Open behind us and the British Open lying just ahead, it's not unusual to be watching some golf. The big tournaments generate a lot of the media interest. A typical telecast offers all kinds of analysis. As an avid golfer, myself, I always appreciate the way that the experts break-down a professional's swing. Sometimes there's a tip or two that can be derived from the analysis - even if you're no Rickie Fowler.
Regardless of the swing under analysis, there are a few things that all the best players on tour have in common. It's these common traits that are the building blocks of sound fundamentals and anyone who reads my column with any regularity, you know I'm all about fundamentals. That said, here are some things business leaders can learn from the fundamentals of a solid golf swing:
1. Pre-shot routines set the tone: A professional golfer always goes through the same routine before each shot. The repetition enables them to prepare mentally and physically to take the shot. Leaders need similar routines in order to set direction and manage change. Perhaps the best routine to adopt is one that makes strategic planning a continuous process and not relegate it to a once a year, budgeting exercise. By doing so, a leader can keep the organization always ready to execute.
2. Choose a target: Golf pros don't just walk up to the ball and take a whack. Rather, they choose a target, decide on the shot that they want to make and decide upon the club to use in order to execute it as imagined. Leaders need to wisely choose the targets for their organizations and then they must determine what is needed to reach it.
3. Set-up makes the shot: Once a golfer chooses the club and the shape of the shot that they want to make, they must set up over the ball and ensure that the grip and weight is properly balanced and the ball is in the appropriate place within their stance. Once everything is properly aligned, they begin the shot. Similarly, a leader must be sure to properly align the resources that they need to properly execute the strategies that they want to enact. In this way, they minimize risks and prepare the organization for success.
4. Rhythm enables solid contact: A golf swing as a certain rhythm to it compromised of takeaway, transition, downswing, contact and follow-through. A pro's swing rhythm enables them to consistently make great shots. Leaders must be sure to consider timing, as well. It's one thing to derive a winning strategy, it's an entirely different thing to flawlessly execute it. Timing is an important factor that can't be underestimated. Leaders must be sure that their organizations are ready to perform before they pull the trigger on a new strategy.
5. It's all about follow-through: The last phase of the golf swing is follow-through. This is the part of the swing that happens after the ball is hit. It's the one where the pros famously strike a pose arms in air, club behind their back, face looking down the fairway. Strategy is all about follow-through, too. Once a leader devises the plan, sets the timing, prepares the organization, they must then follow-though. Following through on a strategic execution drives success.
To close, I hope that this analogy helps you to think a little differently about the work of being a leader and that it provides you with some easy to reference ideas about the fundamentals of driving "followership."
For more, please reach out to me directly. I welcome your thoughts and questions.