Most important shot is next one

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. John Giles
  • Commander, 45th Operations Support Squadron
Ben Hogan once said "the most important shot in golf is the next one."  It doesn't matter whether you find yourself on the golf course or in the workplace; at some point every individual is going to face adversity. Sometimes it's a mistake you've made, but other times you just wake up on the railroad tracks with a bright light speeding toward you. Either way, if you are going to achieve your desired outcome, the most important thing is what you do next. 

This is especially true if you are in a leadership position. Not only does it fall to you to make the right choices, you also set the tone for how your people will respond. Maintaining your composure and focusing on the objective can make all the difference. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few tips to consider.

Maintain a calm, competent, composed demeanor. While it might be self satisfying to fly off the handle, it probably won't help. Don't lose your cool unless it serves your purpose. 

Focus on the objective. Understand what it is you want to achieve and concentrate solely on that outcome. Set aside the temptation to play the blame game or have a pity party. 

Develop a methodical approach. Break down the task so your team can handle it more effectively. This may mean laying out a time sequence or dividing the task into logical subtasks. 

In addition to making the task more manageable, a methodical approach signals your people that you are still in the game, and looking for ways to go from the defensive to the offensive to tackle the problem. 

Work out a strategy. Figure out a way to use the means at your disposal to navigate through the uncertainty of your situation and achieve the desired end state. An effective strategy will allow you to remain engaged and functioning effectively in spite of the adversity of the situation. 

Most importantly, don't quit in the face of adversity. Take the advice of Winston Churchill, given while making closing remarks during a speech to students in October of 1941. He said, "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense."