Life is full of so many interesting moments and surprises and the moments I find that stick with me are perhaps the unexpected. Recently, I had the tremendous good fortune of being invited (now I know how some of you planners feel) to play in the Tom Watson Fall Golf Classic at the Greenbrier. Wow, I could hardly contain myself during the two days of competition. If you’re a golfer, you can only imagine the experience at the Legendary Greenbrier and how nervous I was to tee-off with Tom Watson.
Beyond the high fives, the missed putts, the hundreds of balls on the practice range, and the small investment made in the golf shop, there was an interesting moment I am still thinking about. As part of the tournament, Tom Watson gave a golf clinic and I admit, I anticipated a “show” of impressive drives. But much to my surprise, Tom was there to teach, staying true to this passion for the game and his desire to generously impart any lessons he has learned. And what I re-learned from Tom was the importance of fundamentals—and specifically the golf grip. What Tom emphasized is “the grip may not be the most exciting fundamental to many of you—but it’s the most important. A good swing starts with a good grip. A bad swing starts with a poor grip.” It’s been a long time since I have examined my golf grip and consequently, a very difficult habit to alter and will require a lot of practice. Of all the things Tom could have shared, I thought it was interesting he would choose to focus on this fundamental.
How true this is for the mentors and teachers around us who often turn our attention to the basics. What are the not so exciting fundamentals, that are key to high performance? And how are we sharing, teaching, helping those around us? For example, I had the great fortune of working for Reint Reinders, former President and CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. He once told me, and I’ll never forget, one of the fundamental responsibilities I have as a manager was to instill confidence in the people around me. At the time I thought, why was it my responsibility to be concerned about people’s insecurities? Until I witnessed his generosity firsthand. It seems there will always be a need to focus on the fundamentals and then of course, pass it on.