Did You Ever Think You’d Read: Don’t Focus On Winning?

Well, of course it is, isn’t it? Isn’t that what we’re all trying to achieve? Victory?

B ut let’s think about that for a minute. Is Winning your primary objective … or is it the outcome that flows from a set of proven processes … relentlessly repeated?

Winning, in Some Form, is the Ultimate Objective, isn’t it?

There’s a famous football coach, who at the age of 47 was the Head Coach at Michigan State. As legend tells it, with a record of 4–4, they were headed to Columbus, Ohio to play Ohio State, then #1 in the country. Recalling the tough lessons learned from his father, he decided to try something different.

Here’s what he told his players:

“He told his players not to worry about winning the game. Rather, he instructed them to treat each play as if it was a game, and focus on what needed to be done during that play to be successful. And as soon as the whistle blew on each play, it was to be wiped from memory; all that mattered was the next play and zeroing in on what actions needed to be completed in order to ”win“ that play.”

They went on to defeat Ohio State, 28–14, and the legend of The Process grew from there.

It’s The Process, Man. It’s The Process.

Lou Saban, the football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, is the coach who in 1998 stimulated the upset of Ohio State.

He’s one of the most successful coaches in college football history, winning 3 out of the last 5 National Championships; his team remains #1 halfway through this college season.

I’ve previously described Five Lessons for Success from the Alabama Crimson Tide and you’ll find those principles remain timeless.

But Lou Saban may be most famous for The Process and his relentless focus on it. In a CBS 60 Minutes segment featuring the coach, Saban describes his system. (Starts at about 3:30 in the video.)

[pullquote]Ignore the scoreboard. Don’t worry about winning. Just focus on doing your job at the highest level – on every single play – and the wins will come. ~ Lou Saban[/pullquote]

How Did Rory McIlroy Win the 2014 Masters?

As I wrote in Lose $1 Million in 1 Day – and Still Become a Champion, Rory had just 3 years previously blown a 4 stroke lead in the 2011 Masters, shot the worst score of any golfer (80) on the final day, and ended up 10 strokes behind the winner.

Before the British Open three years later, he told several commentators that he had a few “triggers” to help him get through the week, but he wouldn’t reveal them until the tournament ended.

Just 2 Words: Process & Spot

Here’s what Rory said:

  • “Focus on process. Focus on … don’t care about the results. Just, really, get into the process.”

  • “Spot is for my putting. Just pick your spot, roll over your spot.”

That’s all. Not aim for the hole. Not focus on making the putt. Care about the process … hit your spot … and if you do that every time, you’ll make a lot of putts.

A Bridge Too Far

I’ve often quoted the title of the book by Cornelius Ryan, A Bridge Too Far, as the perfect metaphor for what happens when we get ahead of ourselves … looking past the current objective to one that’s just ahead … but one you can’t achieve without achieving the first one.

You see it in sports all the time – the football receiver so focused on running with the ball that he takes his eye off the pass and drops it … or the outfielder eager to throw out a daring runner, and while watching his target, misses the catch.

Get the Process Right. Victory Will Follow

There’s a growing body of evidence that confirms that the more we focus on winning, the less likely we are to win. Naturally, that’s the desire outcome, but if we’re chasing that dream, it’s likely we’ll overlook the steps necessary to achieve it.

Most of those are the fundamentals we have to do every day to be successful.

So, teach your team the fundamentals. Get the details right. Work hard to get them right every day … every time.

Nail the marketing copy. Get the right products on the shelf, the right services in the lineup.

Don’t focus on getting the sale. Focus on what you need to serve your customer.

When you do, the sales will follow … with Victory right behind.

Question: What Process will you follow to achieve a successful outcome? You can easily add your comment below, or by visiting our Facebook Page or @Exkalibur on Twitter. I visit them every day and look forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with you.

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