Monday, November 15, 2010

Better than the Best

In the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Amazon Affiliate Link), Chip and Dan Heath share a story about pro golfer Tiger Woods. As they tell it, eight championships into his career, Tiger Woods decided that his swing needed an overhaul. For the typical lay person or spectator, it’s hard to imagine that Tiger had anything to improve, let alone the swing that had earned him countless trophies and prizes. One might ask, if something is working, why change it?

As a teacher, I think about this question a lot. Do we really need to change things that are working? I think the answer is no, we don’t need to change them. What we need to do, however, is think about them. If we aim to duplicate or amplify our successes, we need to ask why. Why does what we are doing work? And then we need to ask what. What can I do to make this better?

When Tiger Woods set out to improve his swing, I don’t believe that what motivated him was a notion that he was swinging the club wrong or badly—he simply believed that he could do it better. At the top of his game, Tiger positioned himself as a learner. Since then, he has gone on to win over thirty-five more championships and titles. Why? Because he wanted to be better than the best.

From time to time, we all need a little push to rethink our best practices. Today I am asking you to think about what you are doing that works. Why does it work? What can you do to make this better?

No comments: