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The Next Shot

I’m not much of a golfer, but I occasionally watch the closing holes of important events like The Masters and The British Open. This year’s British Open held a lesson that really hit home.

On the 18th hole, Sergio Garcia needed to make an eight foot putt to defeat Patrick Harrington and win The British Open. The crowd sat pin drop still. Garcia’s ball rolled around the edge of the cup and out. He missed. With disbelief draping his otherwise upbeat demeanor, he tapped the ball in. The tournament was tied.

In the moments that followed, a wide angle camera shot showed both possible winners poised for the official overtime play announcement. Patrick Harrington, the ultimate winner, who had hit two potentially devastating shots into a water hazard minutes before, walked confidently forward focused on his next shot. Garcia was still standing on the putting green agonizing over his last missed shot. He may as well have zipped the cover over his golf bag, handed Harrington the trophy and walked to the locker room. He was done.

Garcia commented to a row of reporters “I still don’t know how that putt missed.” He was still musing about it days later. When Harrington was asked to speak to the microphone about his two “wet” shots, he nodded and kept his pace to the playoff tee. He had made that decision long before the game began.

In the game of business we decide what we will focus on each day. Everything a manager says will either move people towards or away from the company’s mission and objectives. In our high pressure, high tech, scorecard driven world, it is easier than ever to spot a missed objective in high definition detail. When that happens we can decide to transfix on the miss or we can help people focus on making the next shot needed to win the game.

Whatever you focus on expands.

Working Journal Entry: What do you tend to focus on: When your team misses a goal? When a project isn’t perfect? When an employee takes a calculated risk and it flops? When your spouse doesn’t read your mind? When your child embarrasses you?
You have the microphone. Last shot? Next shot? What do you say?

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