I am an aspiring golfer. While watching the U.S. Open played this weekend on the Chambers Bay course in Seattle Washington, it was a little like watching my game only the players are top in their profession.
The challenge of the course matters.
With a lot of awe and a bit of glee, I watched these greats go from one hazard to another, putt seemingly easy shots with crazy misses, and even “whiffing” and topping the ball (my personal nightmare). They couldn’t judge the speed of the greens, the lie of the ball. and the irregularity of the grass and fescue; all realities averting the ball’s successful path. Clearly, the players biggest obstacle was the course itself.
The newspaper articles talked bout how frustrated the players were, continuously complaining in the club. On TV, it was common to see a player throwing his club, mouthing an expletive or two. At one point in the commentary, an announcer told a story about the great Jack Nicklaus at a similar event decades ago. When questioned about the course, Jack said that when he hears a player complaining about the course, he considers that person as no longer someone to beat in the match.
So, what does this have to do with work and organizational life?
The course was insane and so are many (or most) organizations. At the very least, every organization has highly challenging aspects to its culture and the dynamics and challenges to be met in its current business reality. And, it’s so very easy to be judgmental about the company and the leadership. We don’t like the course or how it needs to be played.
How do you win on an course that sets everyone back to average?
One commentator on Sunday’s match said that the course has the impact of putting every player’s game back to average. Isn’t it frustrating at work when someone who is not as experienced or smart as you seems to have incredible success? Of the top of my head, here are some keys to success in this situation:
- Embrace the reality, do not resist it. Resistance creates a lot of negative emotion and stops your brain from thinking. Throwing your clubs, complaining with your colleagues, etc. all contribute to diminishing your game.
- Be precise in your shots. You’ve got to see the opportunities and play them with your strengths and clear intention. The crazier the organization or situation, the less dependent you can be on your historical, comfortable play.
- Stay grounded in who you are. The 22 year-old winner, Jordan Spieth, was noted for a keen ability to perform in the clutch due to his “bulletproof self-esteem.”
So, I am heading into this week, taking a look at where my judgement is deterring my success, looking for new precise paths with openness, and acknowledging my capability to play and win.