This article was originally posted to the AACFB newsletter by John Chaplin. American Financial Partners is a member of the AACFB.
From the title, you might think this article is about networking on the golf course and having a successful business. It’s not. It actually refers to something I heard Phil Mickelson say on a recent podcast by Ed Mylett. Ed asked Phil the difference between the top golfers in the world that play on the PGA Tour week in and week out, and those that never quite make it. They’re good enough to still be pros and they do ‘okay,’ but they never break into that top 130 or so that you constantly see on the Tour. Phil told a quick story. He said that a golfer, similar to the caliber Ed was talking about, told Phil he was having trouble with short putts and asked for his advice. Phil, who had a similar problem at one point in his career, relayed some advice he had gotten from one of his mentors years earlier. He said, “Go out and hit 100 putts in a row from about three feet. They have to be 100 straight putts. If you miss one, you have to start over.” On the podcast, Phil mentioned that when he did it, it took him two days to hit the 100 straight. In fact, in one attempt he hit 99 in a row and missed the last one, so he had to start over. Luckily for him, he hit the 100 in a row on his next attempt. But you know if he hadn’t, he would have kept going. Phil said he ran into the golfer he had given the advice to a couple of weeks later and asked how it went with the 100 putts in a row. The golfer said something along the lines of, “Well, I managed to get to about 50 straight, but that was it.” And, of course, Phil said he doesn’t see him on the tour. On the podcast, Phil also talked about visualization and some other factors, but that “100 putt” example gives an idea as to the dedication and hard work necessary for top achievement in anything you do. I suggest you watch the podcast on YouTube.
Coincidentally, the podcast also tied in with a book I recently read: It Takes What It Takes by Trevor Moawad. In his book, one of the concepts Trevor talks about is the concept that if you want to be successful you really don’t have a choice when it comes to certain behaviors. For example, the great players know they don’t have a choice as to whether or not they can go out drinking at night. They don’t have a choice about what kind of foods they eat or how much work they put in. They don’t have a choice when it comes to anything that will lead to their success and give them that edge. The mediocre and poor players treat the same decisions as if they have a choice and typically, they make the wrong one. They go out into the wee hours, eat whatever they feel like eating, and they usually only do the work that they’re required to do by coaches and others and don’t put in any extra work. Using Phil’s example, Phil knew he had to follow through on the advice of his mentor to hit 100 3-foot putts in a row. It wasn’t a choice; it was a requirement. The guy who Phil gave the advice to treated it as a choice, and that’s why he’s not among the best.
Trevor goes on to say, “A habit has no way of hiding in sports. Good or bad. The film will be watched. You will be graded. Your competency is forced on you. You can’t hide behind ignorance. You can’t say “I didn’t know,” because the team also has a video of the coach telling you the thing you were supposed to know. And… if you think you’re hiding behind ignorance in your non-sports job, you’re not. You may not have a ‘tell-the-truth Monday’ with video in your office, but that doesn’t make the reality any different. It takes what it takes in every walk of life. In your relationships—it takes what it takes. With your health—it takes what it takes. To get promoted—it takes what it takes. Average people become average by doing an average [sh*t]. It takes a specific set of behaviors (or lack of them) to be average. No one is born that way. People can behave themselves into mediocrity. They can also behave themselves out of it… This isn’t about an outcome… It’s about creating the opportunity to win by behaving like people who win. Rarely do I recommend a book, but I recommend this one, again, it’s called: It Takes What It Takes by Trevor Moawad.
The title of the book also reminds me of a conversation I once had with a business owner about some young salespeople he had recently hired. He was frustrated because they weren’t making much progress. To make a long story bearable, even though they were brand new to the industry and fairly new to sales, they were only working about 45 hours a week. I told him, “Look, in order to be successful, they’re going to have to put in about 70 hours a week.”
To which he responded, “You can’t expect this generation to put in that many hours.”
“Well, they basically have two or more full-time jobs between learning the industry, learning the sales profession, and learning how your company does things. How many hours do you think they should put in?”
“Hmm, I guess you’re right, probably around 70, but you can’t expect that.”
“It sounds like the reason you’re frustrated with their progress is that you’re expecting 70-hour results in 45 hours. You have one of two options: either adjust their expectations and require them to put in more time, effort, and energy, or, adjust your expectations to what you should expect for an investment of 45 hours by a newbie. Oh, and you’ll want to adjust their pay too if you go the second route.”
He kept them around for a couple more years, really didn’t change anything, and they both failed, and he wasted a ton of money.
Overall sales success is pretty simple, it’s not advanced math at MIT, calculus, or even algebra. It’s simple addition and subtraction. Once you have the right person, there are several key activities that determine success or failure. People either do those things and succeed, or they don’t, and they fail. It takes what it takes.