Jim Furyk led the recent US Open until midway through the final round. He is called a “plodder” by some colleagues, who claim they mean it positively to denote consistency and calmness, not matter what the circumstances.
But Furyk, who has won a prior Open in 2003 and has 16 or so tournament wins, played THIS Open “not to lose.” He was conservative, tried to get his long putts merely close rather than try to make them and risk three-putting, and never attacked the course.
He was waiting for others to make mistakes. Instead, Webb Simpson, 26, attacked the tough course, had repeated birdie opportunities, and made enough of them to win by one stroke over two others (who had also passed Furyk on the final nine holes).
You don’t win by trying not to lose. The infamous “prevent defense” in football inevitably allows all kinds of points to be scored. Teams do far better leading if they simply continue their aggressive offensive game plan and stop trying “not to lose.”
The same holds true for consultants. Too many try not to lose the business. They allow scope creep, act like a hired hand, scrape and grovel, and are petrified at trying to appear as a peer of the buyer. They make concessions on everything from fees to terms, from days on site to washing the windows.
NO ONE grows or gains respect by trying “not to lose.” You appear to be weak, hesitant, afraid, and vulnerable to pressure and demands. You allow others to gain momentum which will overcome and surpass your own negative inertia.
The world is not for the safe or faint-of-heart. We are not here to stick our toes in the water, but to make waves. We need to be bold, innovative, and assertive. No risk, no reward.
There’s no embarrassment in being in the top ten at the US Open Golf Tournament, but there’s no pride in leading it and letting it slip away through conservative play midway through the final round.
And trust me, “plodder” is never a compliment, no matter how the source spins it.
© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.