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The Secret To Beating Tiger Woods At Golf … And, Its Correlation To Success In Business!
Although the game of golf is difficult to master, it can be narrowed down to three main areas: 1) The power play. [Driving & Iron Play]2) Short game [Finesse / Shots within 100 Yards] and 3) shooting.
Success in golf is largely centered around mastering each skill “to the best of your ability,” and doing so reveals a player’s talent, or lack thereof.
Ask any golfer, even the pros, and they will tell you which of the three disciplines they are best at and which they find most difficult. By most challenging, we mean the skills they are least adept at, resulting in the highest percentage of errors on the course.
In Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible, author and golf short game guru Dave Pelz studied the top players on the PGA Tour and collected some revealing data. In his research, he ignored the fundamentals of a player’s swing, preferring to focus only on “mistakes” in all three disciplines, averaged over thousands of strokes and hundreds of games. Specifically, the player’s performance results.
He found that professional golfers had an average error rate of 7-8% when driving. [including irons]. In the short game, or finesse, their error percentage jumped to an astonishing 13-26%, and he found that the top PGA golfers—the best of the best—enjoyed only a 50-50 chance of sinking a six-foot putt. He referred to this statistic as a player’s “Percentage Error Index.”
It said; who among us would be surprised to find Tiger Woods with the best all-around average among the pros? The fact is, Woods is an enigma. Like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, he’s a rare mix of above-average talent in the majors that set him apart. [them] of the rest. In Tiger’s case, his ability to consistently score high could make him the best to ever play the game.
Despite his undeniable ability, experts and golf fans alike know that he is not the best in any of the three areas of golf. That said, the recent PGA rankings show Darren Clark as the top driver with a 2.9% margin of error, Phil Mickelson, the short game champion, and Ernie Els as the best putter with a 1.678 average.
Tiger isn’t the best in any discipline – he’s currently ranked a surprising 51st in the putting category. Still, he’s the best in the game and the hardest to beat!
The power of three
Hypothetically speaking, imagine for a moment what would happen if the rules of golf were changed just a little bit? What if players were allowed to use a team approach to improve their chances of winning? Simply put, Tiger would be playing against a team of three. Clark would make the entire drive, Mickelson would make the irons and Els would only make the putt.
The answer is not so mysterious. With a team approach, Tiger Woods wouldn’t stand a chance, and the stats clearly show that prediction. In fact, any combination of three players, one from each discipline [listed in the PGA’s Top Ten] would be surpassed by Wood’s immense talents. In the end, the only mitigating factor would be LUCK – a rather ironic twist for those who have ever played against a Tiger.
While golf is and always will be an individual sport, it should not be lost on the mind that if experts were truly allowed to compete as a team, three-on-one, using only their dominant strengths, they would automatically improve their winnings. the potential to become an indomitable force fueled by an unbeatable error rate. In short; regardless of factors such as reputation, flair or shaky fundamentals, they achieve better performance and better results are EVERYTHING!
Winning golf strategies and business? Where is the correlation?
Few would argue that the entire business landscape has been on a slippery slope over the past three decades. Suffice it to say, a lot has changed and a lot of mistakes were made at all levels in all industries. There is more to be said for asking, “What did we learn?”
Over the years, I’ve written many articles about the changes in marketing and sales for businesses, the people who have to do it, and how such simple fundamentals have been anything but static.
Another look in the rearview mirror shows how the 1980s ushered the computer into mainstream business with a new era of technology. Traditional salesmen suddenly became redundant due to lack of computer and technical skills. It was their fault despite knowing how to sell.
Industries tried to compensate by quickly adopting a new “salesperson model,” with the technical sales professional more affectionately known as the Techie. For a while, this strategy seemed to satisfy the need for knowledgeable front-line salespeople [comfortable] with the ever-changing complexity of new products and solutions in a market that was rapidly becoming an increasingly converging marketplace. However, that was until the late 80s, when a major flaw in techno salespeople was discovered – they couldn’t SELL!
Looking for answers to the question of why profitability was declining and customer loyalty was fading, companies were shocked to find that their front lines were “customers” and not “sellers”. Those in the trenches were blessed with knowledge and ability in the technological genre, but unfortunately lacked sales discipline because it was clearly at odds with their psychological comfort and expertise – Technology.
Since they lacked the skills to design professional sales, customers were morally unburdened and were free to buy solutions presented to other Tellers for a better price. Unfortunately, too many companies learned this lesson the hard way and did not survive.
In the 1990s, industries began to work on correcting the confusion of the seller model, assuming that Techno Sellers would need to change in order to succeed. General sales training would certainly solve the problem, wouldn’t it? And what about natural sellers? Couldn’t they also be trained as technical specialists?
Well, anything is possible, especially in theory, but often unlikely in practice. With no better plan and few options, companies spent most of the late 1990s investing a lot of time and effort in trying to change places for those who were asked to do a lot more with less money, time, and resources.
There is no better example than the high-tech industries, where harmonization issues meant for a while that network solution providers and telephone service providers struggled to even define their markets, and customers never cared to deal with the challenges facing frontline vendors. These turbulent times brought much unrest, discontent, high turnover, and many corporate casualties.
Now you may be asking, what if it has something to do with Tiger Woods or the error percentage index?
Unlike the game of golf, which doesn’t change, business marketing and sales strategies can, should, and will.
Selling a team strategy
To find the credibility of the changes needed in today’s corporate sales strategies, we must first order Dave Pelz’s “Percentage Error Index” golf example discussed earlier in this article. Simply put; Tiger Woods, arguably the best player to ever swing a club, would prove no match if challenged by any combination of the top 10 PGA players from the three sports. [Driving, Chipping and Putting]. The statistics are irrefutable.
From this we conclude that a combination of competitors doing “only” what they are “best” at will improve the error rate index to a level that makes the chance of victory unattainable for an individual opponent. – even arguably the best.
Would the same team approach plan produce similar results in business sales? The percentage error index factor, would it prevail? In short, yes.
Top sellers, like golfers, have a mix of strengths and weaknesses that ultimately determine how well they perform in each of their disciplines. Like Tiger Woods, the culmination of their innate talents is the stuff that keeps them ahead of the pack. Like tiger forests, their chances of success predictably diminish when they compete against a team of vertical experts.
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” or “You can’t change the spots of a leopard” – choose any analogy. The lesson to remember as we move forward in 2003 is that we need to stop trying to change the behavior or comfort level of the people we expect to support the future expectations of the business. That doesn’t mean the staff can’t change or improve, but it should highlight the fact that the team’s strategy is designed to keep the players in their comfort zone. [intrinsic to them] Using only their natural expertise is a formula that minimizes mistakes and mathematically increases sales success.
Let the frontline sales reps hunt and gather – generate opportunities for leads – that’s what they’re good at. Don’t bog them down with paperwork. Let them be the team’s quarterback, coach if you will. Give them the autonomy to coordinate their approach using a pool of specialist talent whose vertical talents blend to deliver uncompromising trust and communication with clients, eliminating all risk – supporting a positive business climate.
They should be allowed to work as a team, be accountable as a team, and most importantly, be rewarded as a team. This does not mean that the pay should be equal. The hospital’s operating room works as a team, but with benefits corresponding to each station.
Players should be clear about their responsibilities and the knowledge they bring to encourage the team. There should be no doubt about individual performance-results-expectations. “Team strategy” should be honed and practiced much like an actor rehearsing for a part. Make no mistake; each team player is an actor who confidently plays a persuasive role in his discipline with a clear focus on: a) satisfying the customer’s needs, b) neutralizing the competition for his own success, and c) the success of the team and the company.
Whether in sports or business, performance results continue to be a key challenge and determinant of success. A team approach that utilizes only each individual’s vertical strengths is a winning formula that clearly guarantees victory in a competitive corporate market or on the links—even when facing champions like Tiger Woods.
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