Okay, there is a pattern here. By Day Two of a major tournament, Tiger Woods is at or near the top of the leader board, appearing invincible, and fueling renewed anticipation of his resurgent quest to beat the Jack Nicklaus record of 18 major championships. Then on Saturday, Tiger’s swing takes on this artificial feel, and by Sunday he can look almost punch drunk in trying to hurl every part of his body through the swing to power the ball back into play and get himTiger Woodsself back in contention. In his last eight attempts at another major trophy, Tiger has failed to even break par on the last two days.
Tiger does not have to pay me as his swing coach (or, better yet, his head shrink), but I found myself this weekend muttering to him on my TV: stop swinging so fast and hard, quit fighting so much, stop forcing your swing. After four knee surgeries, two decades in the spotlight, self-imposed failures in his personal life, and-ahem-a 37-year-old body (on the downside of the Bell Curve for golf), why does he think he can recreate his magic?
You don’t have to follow golf or care about Tiger Woods (as a growing number of people do not) to take away something from his collapse. The point here is not to light up opinions on Woods so much as to train the light on ourselves and ask whether we can fall victim to the same pattern.
Yes. It happens all the time.
It is so terribly human, when faced with a real struggle or potential failure, to go back to what worked before and just do it faster and harder. We convince ourselves that we don’t have the time to consider other approaches, that this is no time to assume the risk of doing something differently. Just apply ourselves and we are bound to get the results we always realized before. Right?
It rarely works that way. Too much in the business world is changing. There are forces in our markets that are quite capable of acting on their own. As well, the more we tend to do the same thing, the less we tend to learn and grow, and the more isolated we get to the conditions shifting around us.
The new leadership “swing” has some repeatable elements to it – clarity of vision and sharp execution, a pace and culture around good decision-making, and being a moral compass – but success today is all about having a leadership approach that is fluid, adaptable, always learning.
(Visit the blog for my new book The Leader’s Climb (co-authored with Bob Parsanko) and share your thoughts about how your leadership has changed or evolved over the last year or two.
It has, hasn’t it?