5 Steps to Developing a Tiger Like Attitude

Tiger Woods

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
-Thomas Jefferson

Since watching and reading about the greatness that is Tiger Woods I’ve been thinking a lot about my attitude (in case you live under a rock, Tiger won the US Open this week on one leg in a sudden death playoff). Specifically, I’ve been thinking about my mental attitude.

You see, while I generally do my best to have a positive outlook on life… I sometimes find myself in a rut. I’ve pondered on why these lows occur and would like to share some thoughts and ideas as to how we might all go about avoiding these lulls while developing a Tiger Like attitude.

1. Set goals

I am a big believer in goal setting. Specifically, I am big fan of setting lots of small goals throughout the day, week, and month.

I have a big white board in my office at work and every day (that I’m actually in my office… I travel a lot) I write down what I need to accomplish for the day. As I get things done, I cross them off. I don’t erase them… I cross them off since it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

2. Practice, a lot

Tiger Woods practices a lot. And so it is with us, we too must practice our profession. And while you can practice in a conference room during a training session, nothing beats going to the gemba, or the place the work is actually done, and practicing.

In other words, what’s stopping us from heading down to the shop floor (or office, or hospital, etc.) and simply watching things for awhile? If you stand there long enough I promise you’ll spot something that can be improved. And when you spot it, act on it. Right then. Don’t write up a charter, or call a meeting, or ask for a blessing. Just do it.

That’s how we can practice the art we call continuous improvement.

3. Begin with the end in mind

I’ve never made it completely through the 7 Habits book since honestly speaking… it whips me.

But one of the things they talk about in the book is to begin with the end in mind. I absolutely love this advice.

I am preparing to help facilitate a massive kaizen (really more like a kaikaku) event in the near future. We’ve planned, and planned, and planned. We’re ready. And I know what success looks like. I see it. I feel it. I can almost taste it.  I know it’s within reach… and we’re going to get it. I’ve begun with the end in mind.

4. Be fearless

One of my relatives has terminal cancer and will die soon.

My 5 year old daughter asked someone very close to her why they were crying when thinking about the situation. My daughter went on to say that this individual (who has cancer) was going to be in heaven soon… so what is there to be sad about?

It’s this type of attitude that helps drive me to fear very little. Sure I worry about things. Sure I get nervous. But very little scares me.

Back to this kaizen we have planned. Some folks ask me if we’re ready. And when they ask, I actually hear fear and doubt in their voice. I see it in their face. But I know we’re ready… thus fear is the last thing on my mind.

5. Focus on solutions, not excuses

Most losers have one thing in common. They always have a million excuses as to why things didn’t work out. Why it’s not their fault. Why they’ve done all they can and how they are really the victim in the tragedy that is their life. I don’t buy it.

I believe we are the makers of our own destiny. I believe solutions to most problems are waiting for us to find them. We just have to keep looking. Some, like the cure to cancer, are harder to find. But if researchers persevere… a cure will be found… and heaven will have to wait a bit longer for folks like my relative.

So the next time you find yourself about to make an excuse for a setback… just pause… and breathe. And when you feel a little better (usually a matter of seconds) take out a piece of paper and write down 5 potential solutions to the issue at hand.

Once you have this done you’re ready to go explain the situation to others. Only this time excuses aren’t needed since you have something far better – potential solutions.

Enough from me. Do you agree with this list? What would you add to it?

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7 Comments

  1. Bob Delaney

    June 17, 2008 - 10:24 pm

    What an inspiring post, especially the words of your daughter.

    While you touched on it several times, I think the need to be prepared is crucial. I am assuming the reason you are so confident about the Kaizen is because you know you are ready.

  2. Shane

    June 18, 2008 - 12:49 pm

    LOL. I can’t make it though Covey’s book either. I really want to and have tried more than once. But it’s so dang boring.

  3. Brian Buck

    June 19, 2008 - 8:44 am

    I would add one more to this list:

    Be willing to take a punch

    This may fall under being fearless but it is important to know you can take risks, get a dinged for it sometimes, but still walk away in PDCA glory!

  4. John

    June 20, 2008 - 11:23 am

    “3. begin with the end in mind” is what I believe is missing from so many in the work place. Workers, supervisors, managers, etc. are so lacking in real “vision”. We have no guiding vision that pushes us to accomplish the day’s tasks. We need to find satisfaction in achieving the day’s production goal, making every part 100% to spec, making every shipment on time, making every customer happy every time, at the end of the day knowing that we did the best that could be done.

    We need more individuals with vision; or individuals with the end in mind.

  5. Ron Pereira

    June 20, 2008 - 1:42 pm

    @ Brian – I love this one… great comment.

    @ John – I agree 110%. All the best!