I have spent much of my time in my years at Solutions 21 explaining discipline, work ethic, and leadership development to business owners. I recently became a bit more enlightened on these topics one Saturday morning on the golf course.
A buddy of mine joined me while I was practicing prior to hitting the course to play eighteen. After a few minutes of small talk, he asked me, “How’s your game?” I answered, “Okay, but I am struggling with hitting greens and making putts.” We went on to hit balls for twenty more minutes before he joined his foursome to play. As he walked away, he said something that struck a nerve with me. He said, “I watched you hit balls for forty-five minutes, and you didn’t hit one short game shot or attempt one putt. If I were you, I would change that practice routine!”
It was then that I realized I had it all wrong. It wasn’t that I wasn’t practicing – I wasn’t practicing the right way. I was just warming up. Getting loose. Mindlessly hitting a few balls for a while and then going to play. There was no intent or goal behind my practice.
As an athlete, the amount of time I spent practicing and preparing significantly outweighed the amount of time I was on the field actually performing. The exact opposite is true when it comes to business. We are always performing. In fact, the time spent practicing is very seldom intentional and oftentimes means checking a box.
At Solutions 21, we consistently hear frustration from our clients when it comes to leaders and managers because of their lack of leadership precision. Herein lies the question is: if you’re struggling around the greens and with your putting, how much time are you dedicating towards your practice? The same holds true in the business world. If you see a lack of precision in desired leadership skills, how are you intentionally addressing the issue?
If greatness is the goal, the first step is to identify your focus. Then, create the time and the schedule to intentionally practice – and practice correctly. There’s no sense in checking the box. Deliberately work on what needs your attention. Take the time to practice what needs to be practiced.