As you may have gathered from my previous blogs, I am a former professional football player and a big fan of the game of golf. I fell in love with golf 12 years ago due to the many life lessons it teaches — ranging from beauty, complexity, and the all too familiar brutal truth. Despite my background in athletics, one of the biggest takeaways I have from the game of golf is that I am NOT a professional golfer. What did I tell you? Brutal truth.
No matter how much I love the game, how passionate I am, how many books I read or televised championships I watch, I will always be an amateur. Again — brutal truth. After all, in order to become a professional there are two common denominators that come into play: talent and repetitions. These two factors are mutually exclusive — one without the other deems it almost impossible to achieve the rank of professional.
The same holds true when developing your future leadership talent. There is no shortcut to getting the results you seek. Sure, there are YouTube videos you can watch about leadership, books you can read, people you can shadow, and passion you can display, but at the end of the day you will always fall back on your habits. And habits are formed through intentional practice and repetition. They are formed through individual correction. And they are repeated over and over and over again.
The metaphor I like to use is a 15-foot putt in golf. Whether during a game of mini golf, a video game at your local arcade, an infatuation with instructional videos, or simply a friendly game with your buddies on a weekend, a 15-foot putt is a fun challenge. Anyone can try it and some have even conquered this feat.
But when you are forced to make it — whether with money or pride on the line — are you willing to sign-up for that putt? Do you feel confident that you have prepared yourself for that moment? Is your muscle memory automatic?
Now, I want you to think of your “15-foot putt” when it comes to your organization. Have you prepared your team for this challenge? Have you invested in your leadership and intentionally driven their repetitions? Or are they amateurs? After all, developing the next line of your organization’s leadership isn’t about shortcuts. It’s about preparing your employees to step up and make the “putt” when they’re called upon.
So I ask you this — are your leaders prepared to make the putt?