Changing from Old Habits


Some friends and I played golf yesterday and we enjoyed a fun round. Jerry, one of my playing partners, gave me a tremendous tip that literally changed how I play golf and also gave me a leadership insight.

Truth is, I played baseball so much that it’s hard for me to actually swing a golf club correctly. My right side takes over and because of it, I hook (hit the ball with spin that causes it to go radically left) the ball almost all the time. It’s a nuisance habit and one I’ve tried to break for years.

Yesterday Jerry helped me change my grip in such a way that weakened my right hand and allowed me to hit the ball straighter. The hook was gone. My problem was that I still set up like I was “hooking” so many of my shots would up going straight, but on the right side. So even though I had a better grip, I didn’t have the confidence that my shot wouldn’t hook so I set up in my old, normal way.

This simple, but powerful golf lesson becomes a powerful leadership lesson.

How many times do we either ask our people to make change, or we’re asked to change and we lack the confidence to change old habits? We might even see positive results from the change; however, we revert back to the old ways out of habit, lack of confidence or personal comfort. The rut of the past gets in the way of the potential success of the future road.

Jerry was terrific as he coached me through the change and that’s the lesson here. For leaders it takes great patience and coaching to help our team members into the new change. For team members, it takes patience and perseverance to let the new “grip” take effect. It also takes confidence from both parties to let the new change settle, take effect and deliver the vision.

PATIENCE About 1/2 of people greatly resist change with about 2/3 being resisters to change. As leaders we need patience with our people to get comfortable with the change. As team members we need to be patient with the change. We need to let things happen and give grace as everyone struggles out of the ruts.

COACHING People need to know “why”. They appreciate leaders who help them “make meaning” out of the change. Sometimes the result is just not that visible so leaders need to continually coach and help people understand the “why” behind the change.

Change can be a real stretch for some people. Even yesterday my grip felt different, unusual and uncomfortable. But, I saw results, it worked to my benefit even if it didn’t feel right. Patience and coaching are powerful ways to help your team through change or help yourself to better, more consistent performance.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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