Albu On Strategy

Strategy and Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is all the rage again in the golf world.  Everyone is talking about his comeback and this past weekend he appeared to show off some of the “old” Tiger we remember from years ago. There are lessons to be learned from Tiger’s journey. 

In one of our previous posts dated August 2006, No Room for Complacency, we spoke about how Tiger never accepted the status quo.  He was a master at continuous improvement, because he refused to accept complacency.  Even though he was ranked #1 in the world, he still felt he needed to improve.  When asked why he kept changing his golf swing, he replied, “because I want to get better.”  His answer was simple, yet meaningful.  Tiger understood back then and still today that the game of golf continues to change, and he needed to continue to improve his game or he would not stay on top.

Today, playing against players 10 to 20 years younger, Tiger seems to have arrived one more time. At age 42, after four back surgeries and out of the PGA circuit for three years, he is once again in pursuit to be #1.  Will this time be different?  Probably not—His competitors will be relentless in their efforts to beat him, and the PGA will continues to make golf courses more challenging for everyone.  Even though Tiger’s physical and mental capabilities have changed, will his new swing and game day strategy put him in position to win?

What can we learn from Tiger?  In business as in golf, developing a pragmatic strategy that leverages strengths and recognizes weaknesses are essential to good strategic choices.

  1. After several failed attempts to reenter competition, Tiger realized he needed to wait until he was ready both physically and mentally. That must have been hard for someone as competitive as he is. The same is true for business leaders.  Don’t attempt to compete in a new market without first understanding what capabilities are needed to win.  Too often leaders move too quickly toward opportunities (some call it “shinny objects”) where they have no right to win.  A recent food manufacturing client wanted to expand its products into the fast food foodservice channel.  However, their level of understanding of this new market was limited.  Their new strategy called for a two-year development process to build the internal capabilities needed to compete.  When they did launch the new business, they were ready with the right capabilities to win.
  1. Nike is Tiger’s sponsor and he still wears their clothes. But, he plays with Titlist clubs and Bridgestone balls.  He uses the equipment that best fits his current physical needs.  Business leaders also need to continuously question the skills, knowledge, process and systems they need to meet current and future needs.  Reviewing your strategy regularly and making adjustment based on your current situation will ensure that you are providing your organization with the resources required to stay at the top of its game.

Tiger Woods is back in the game.  Will he make it to #1 in the world again?  Only time will tell.  We can learn from his mistakes as well as his successes.  Are you working on making your organization game day ready?  What strategic moves are you making to be #1 in your market?

Posted in Newsletter, Strategy Development, Strategy Management.