Roger & Tiger both win on a Sunday; 2nd verse, same as 1st

Monday, July 13th, 2009

One month between posts! And a lot has happened but not much has changed. Hunter Mahan shoots 62 in final round, Tiger bests him by one shot coming down the stretch. Andy Roddick plays the match of his career, losing only one service game (75 played in total with 30 in 5th set alone) and loses match to Roger after that sole miscue.

Each day as I read the thinner and thinner printed newspapers, I need only scan the headlines for strong signals of increasing disruption and uncertainty: ethnic riots in China; political riots in Iran; coup in Honduras; Iraq and Afgan-land returning to the time before the billions and the thousands (dollars and deaths). Closer to home, I think that we’re not being completely honest with ourselves about the condition of the economy and the course of action necessary for its recovery.

I continue to speak with customer executives about the present and probable impact of Internet technologies. I sat at lunch yesterday where three people in a row were using their iPhones. Notable was that each represented an different age demographic. Despite what I believe to be the silent stampede of smart phones (iPhone & Pre & Blackberry & Android-based phones), the majority of execs that I with whom I meet are not sure if they should permit their employees access to Instant Messaging capability and certainly uncomfortable with widespread employee access to the Internet.

I want to believe that these execs are terribly short-sighted in not trusting their employees in an ‘everybody knows – your employees are your brand’ economy. On the other hand, if they are correct and their employees lack the education and/or discipline to use IM & the Internet productively, how will we recover the economy and transform it from Consumption to Value-Add, presuming that a return to Production is a ways off unless matters really get bad (like becoming lower cost than India)?!

Back to Tiger and Federer: I read this summer, mainly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers, that one has to be gifted plus heavily invested to be a top class performer of any sort. So, I’ll never be as good as a Tiger or a Roger or a Bill Gates if only because they have that 10,000 hour head-start on me during which they perfected their crafts. However, I can practice like a Tiger or a Roger meaning that I can make every learning moment useful.

The way forward or the change necessary will have to be, imo, centered on a collective commitment to excellence at levels and in ways that we are not recently familiar. It might take us to the final hole or the 30th game in the 5th set and we are capable if we become committed to our mutual achievement.

Roger & Tiger both win on Sunday

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

At last for Fed. Always gracious in victory, ever candid in rare defeat. Of last 4 majors, he’s won 2 (US Open and French), losing the other two in the 5th set (Wimbledon and Australian). Sounds good?! Nadal has won 3 of the last 5 (Australian, Wimbledon and French ’08). Terrific players and better examples of sportsmanship. I admire Roger especially for his capability to look at himself from the outside to in. Even when he says how great he played, it seems sincere, thoughtful and true.

Tiger rallied from 4 strokes back to win Jack Nicklaus’s tournament, The Memorial, on the final day. He played three incredible (for other golfers) shots on the final 9 holes to win nearly before other competitors finished their rounds. As he walked off the 18th hole with a 2 stroke lead, Jack Nicklaus congratulated him. We saw their brief conversation on camera but not on interview or with a reporter. JN shook Tiger’s hand, congratulated him on the round and obvious victory and said, “now go out there and win the Open”, meaning the US Open (golf not tennis) at Bethpage in two weeks. Reflexively, Tiger replied, “Yes sir, I’ll try” showing his respect for the man whose legend and achievements that he pursues. Could you imagine an athlete from another sport such as basketball or baseball or football having such poise and a sense of how their own opportunities were created?!

The demeanor of these two superlative athletes and their commitment to improvement motivates me to improve upon whatever I’m trying to achieve.