How Many, Not How

Mondays are no fun.  As you might know if you’ve been on the screed on a Monday, I spend most of my weekends when the ground isn’t covered with snow playing golf.

English: Golfing in Ontario golf course, Oregon.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mondays are the days when my obsession with the game (and my lack of golfing prowess) usually shows up here.  This Monday, it’s about a thought I had while I was playing in a tournament on Saturday.  I was playing on a team with a person who had clubs that were at least 10 years old.  Golf technology changes very rapidly, and his driver was the size of my five wood (meaning it was way smaller than any modern driver).  The shaft of the club was slightly bent down by the club head and I had no clue how he could hit the ball.

Hit the ball he did – some of our team’s best drives came off that club.  In fact, he hit some amazing shots both good and bad.  My favorite was a worm-burner that rolled and rolled and rolled maybe 150 yards until it stopped rolling 10 feet from the pin.  Which reminded me of the old golf adage “it’s not how, it’s how many” which is my business thought today as well.

It seems to me we spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing the tools we use in business just as there’s an equipment obsession in golf.  Those are really about the “how.”  No matter what tools you’re using, none of them matter if you’re not being consistent and clear about what you’re trying to do with them – the “how many.” It’s easy to get caught up processes and in so doing you miss a focus on achieving the real goal.   If you haven’t clarified the things you want to accomplish over time, there’s little chance of success.  The tool or app is less important than the way you use it.  The process isn’t the business.

We’ve all had bosses who focused on when a report was delivered and then never read it to see what was inside.  Woe be to those who missed a deadline, even if the work was crap.  That’s “how”, not “how many.”  Take an extra day and achieve perfection is my preference.  Hit one long and straight with a crooked driver.  Make a par with an awful shot that winds up next to the pin.  There are no pictures on the scorecard, folks.

You with me?

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Filed under Consulting, Thinking Aloud

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