You hear the phrase about someone being a “choker” every once in a while. It’s a negative term meaning that the person had victory within their grasp but let it slip away or that someone performs well most of the time but cracks when facing the pressure of an important event. It happened this weekend in professional golf and you see it in other sports as well as in business. Oh sure, sometimes a great performance by a competitor steps up and beats you even when you play well but much of the time, in sports and in business, the person not finishing first wasn’t ready to win.
What do I mean by that? Part of it has to do with the skill set possessed. Sometimes a car just isn’t good enough or a pit crew isn’t together enough to shave off vital half seconds. In this case, it’s a literal phrase – they’re just not ready to win.
The case I really want to talk about is the mental one, again in business or in sports. Your product is good enough to beat your competitors, you’re fairly priced, you provide excellent value and customer service – you’re ready to win, at least on the surface. However, there’s a mental aspect to this is well. You used to see it when Tiger strode to the tee leading on Sunday – no one was going to beat him and the thought of that never crossed his mind, right up until Y.E. Yang has similar thoughts about himself. Mike Tyson was the same way right up until he lost to Buster Douglas. The fight was over as soon as the opponent saw Tyson. Iron Mike knew he was going to win and mentally he couldn’t conceive otherwise. These guys and most great ones impose their will on their competition.
Most folks who aren’t ready don’t think of themselves in Ted Williams terms. When he hit .400 for the season, it means he only screwed up 6 times out of 10. Businesses tend to focus on the 6 losses, not the 4 wins that are a better percentage than anyone ever did it. To get your team ready to win, they need to know they have the skills, they have a track record, and they need to believe in themselves as all great champions do. It’s the moment of doubt that costs you the win.
Are you ready to win? Is your team?