Skillsoft Blog

Leadership Skills Training Lesson: Success Favors a Prepared Mind

By Shawn Hunter

I was reminded of a story Stephen Lundin shared with me a while back. On the 18th hole of the British Open a few years ago, Gary Player was mired 8 feet deep in a greenside bunker without even a view of the flag. From this preposterous position, he opened the clubface and pitched the ball straight up over the wall and, after bouncing twice, rolled it into the hole. As he approached the flag to retrieve his ball a fan yelled out, “Hey Gary, you gotta admit that was a pretty lucky shot.” Gary replied, “Yes, but I find the more I practice, the luckier I get.”

I read an article recently about Malcolm Gladwell who was answering a question from an awed audience member. He said, “I know it may not look like this. But it’s all scripted. I write down every word and then I learn it off by heart. I do that with all my talks and I’ve got lots of them.”

Nick Morgan, a gifted speaker and mentor to aspiring speakers, said much the same thing in a rebuttal to Seth Godin – that essentially to be able to perform in the moment, you can’t “psych yourself up” but need to prepare diligently for each engagement.

Think of the same analogy in preparing your business plan. In an interview just last week with Jeff Joerres, CEO of Manpower, he likened developing your people at the point of execution to training pilots after you take delivery of your airplanes. Joerres advises a more strategic workforce development plan, in which we grow our people now, and always, for tomorrow’s challenges. It makes sense from a business development standpoint, and it makes sense from an engagement standpoint. Remember people innately want to learn and grow, and the greater opportunity we provide, the more likely people will stay on the bus.

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