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Leadership Training: What I Would Do If I Were In The Business Of Being Tiger Woods
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I was sitting in Elliott’s office thinking of a way to inspire his leadership skills. Elliott is my director of rehab and a physical therapist. He is an affable guy and sincere in his practice of therapy, but a bit weak as a leader. His staff is composed of very unique personalities. Over the past three months, his departmental statistics, as measured by customer satisfaction, quality measures, and employee turnover had been on the decline. (Actually, turnover had gone up, and this is a sign of a department in trouble.)

“Hey, Boss,” he said as he entered his office. “You have a good weekend.”

“Yeah,” I said, “ how about you?”

“I got to play golf both Saturday and Sunday, so it was good.”

I am happy to chit-chat when things are going well, but one of my weaknesses is that when something needs to be done, I become issue focused. I shut the as he took his seat.

“Uh-oh,” he said. “I know what shutting the door means. I guess my patient and employee satisfaction numbers have not been improving.”

We reviewed these statistics regularly and I had encouraged him to try a few changes to patient and staff scheduling to address the declines. His quality numbers and turnover had stabilized (I felt they were still too low), but his patient satisfaction numbers continued to be dismal.

“Your right,” I said and I shared the latest results with him. “Man, what do you think it is?” He asked.

“Whenever there are variances in results, I like to look at a number of factors,” I began. “Methods, or processes, of doing a task is usually the largest contributor to a variance in result. “

His skin tightened a bit around his lips.

“You know, you can’t expect a person to function at a high level if the process or method that the work is provided in is broke.” He nodded earnestly.

“Another issue that can affect a result is the equipment you use. If you don’t have the right machine or tool, it is hard to provide a good service.”

“We don’t really use too many machines,” he said.

“No,” I agreed, “you don’t.”

“What else could it be?” he asked.

“Other influences of variance are the materials you use, but again, that has a larger occurrence in the manufacturing industry.” He nodded again.

“Another contributor to variance is Mother Nature, but since we haven’t had any sort of tornados or other natural disasters here, we can probably rule that one out.”

“I can see where this is going,” he said pulling his brow down a bit. “Measurement,” I said to be sure to cover all the contributors of variance, “can affect the variance of a product as well, but I am pretty certain that our tools for measuring patient satisfaction and quality are pretty tested and true.”

His lips puckered a bit, “So, it’s me?” His voice was weak.

Elliott is a great person and a wonderful employee. I did not want this to become a session where he was left demoralized and without hope. I saw a picture over his shoulder of him and some of his buddies on a golf course and it gave me an idea.

“Let’s not talk about you as an individual, but rather let’s talk about your department as a singular person or business.”

He recognized that I was not in his office to admonish him, but was there as a coach. His frown straightened and his shoulders relaxed.

“Let’s pretend that you are a company that we will call ‘Tiger Woods’.”

He smiled.

“Now if you have read the news lately, your Tiger Woods business is not doing so well. Your product has taken a hit. Your public image is weak. You are not producing the quality product that you know you are capable of. You have lost sponsorships, or business, and your staff of one has left you. What do you need to do? What does Tiger Woods, the business need to do to get back to a high level of performance?”

Elliott sat up tall in his seat, his eyes were opened wide, “Well, he has lost his focus.”

“Exactly,” I said and waited for him to focus.

“He can’t blame his game on the weather, because they all have it.”

“Yes.” I said.

“He can’t blame it on his equipment, because that guy has the best stuff in the world.”

I nodded.

“He is using the same ball, so his material has not changed.” I loved that Elliott was relaying back the typical reasons for variance in production. I sat on the front edge of my chair.

“And he seems to be doing the same pre-shot routine that he has always done.”

“Yes,” I said again.

“So, it’s him. He is the variance, and it comes down to focus.”

“Yes, so how can he improve his focus?”

“Well, he has to re-establish himself, but to the very core.”

“How does the business of Tiger Woods do that?” I was nearly drooling.

“I believe that he needs to very publically create a vision. He needs to go on the record as saying that he was going to get his game back. You know, sort of hold himself accountable.”

“Yes,” I said, bits of my spit spraying on to the front of his desk.

“Then he defines his purpose. He says that Tiger Woods, the company, is going to be the best golfer in the world.”

“People would laugh,” I said.

“Yes, they would. But if he is sincere about improving Tiger Woods the company, then he has to do it. He has to create that vision and purpose so that he has a singular focus.”

“What else should he do?” I asked rubbing my hands together.

“Well, honestly, the guy has to define his values. He has to state and hold to a code of ethics and behavior that is conducive to meeting his vision and purpose.”

I could not have agreed more. “And,” I said hoping for just a bit more.

Elliott did not disappoint, “And he has to create norms statements. He, Tiger Woods, the business has to say that I will be true to the fans that supported me before. I will conduct myself in a professional manner whether I am on camera or not. I will be friendly and sincere. I will accept what I have done, but I will move on. I will be a better person.”

“Yes,” I said pounding the top of his desk with my fist. “So if Tiger Woods the business is going to improve the quality of his game and improve his customer satisfaction numbers, then he has to,” I held up a finger, “First, create a vision that all his loyal fans can see and hear. Second, he has to publically define his purpose in a bold manner that he and all the employees of Tiger Woods, the business, can hold on to. Third, he has to publically define the values that Tiger Woods, the business, is going to hold dear to its operation. Values,” I said with my third finger raised, ”that all his employees and fans can support, and finally, “ my fourth finger was up, “he has to create some norms statements that will act as beacons to guide him by.”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” Said Elliott pumping his fist with each word.

“Great ideas,” I said. “If Tiger Woods, the business, does these things, and does them sincerely and consistently, do you believe his business, his golf game, would improve?”

“Yes,” answered Elliott.

“Now you know,” I said.” “We are talking about what you need to do to improve your departmental operations, and not Tiger Woods.”

“Yes, I do,” responded Elliott. “Yes I do.”

And I believed him, and more importantly, I believed in him. This is a way to address variances that are typical to an operation. It is also a way to help improve the function of an operation, when the variance is caused by the people.

Thanks for reading.

Street Talk

Whaat would you do if you were Tiger?

  about 1 decade ago
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