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The Secret To Beating Tiger Woods At Golf … And, Its Correlation To Success In Business!
The game of golf, while difficult to master, can be narrowed down to three basic disciplines: 1) The Power Play [Driving & Iron Play]2) The Short Game [Finesse / Shots within 100 Yards] and 3) placement.
Success in golf is largely about mastering each skill ‘to one’s ability’ and thus, a player’s skill or lack thereof is determined.
Ask any golfer, even the pros and they will tell you which of the three disciplines they are best at and which they find the most difficult. By hardest, they mean the skills they are least good at – resulting in the highest rate of ‘Mistakes’ in the course.
In the book, The Short Game Bible by Dave Pelz, golf author and short game guru, Dave Pelz, surveyed the best players on the PGA circuit and collected some revealing data. In his research, he ignored the fundamentals of a player’s swing and preferred to focus only on ‘Made Errors’ in all three disciplines averaged over thousands of shots and hundreds of games. More to the point, Results of a Player’s Performance.
He discovered that professional golfers, on average, had a 7-8% error when driving [including irons]. Their error rate in the short or fair game rose to an astonishing 13-26% and he found that the top PGA golfers – the best of the best – enjoyed only a 50-50 chance of hitting a six-footer. He referred to these statistics as a player’s ‘Percentage Error Index’.
He said; Who among us would be surprised to see that Tiger Woods has the best Average Percentage Error Index among the pros? The truth is, Woods is an enigma. Like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, it’s a rare combination of superior talent in the disciplines that count that sets him apart. [them] from the rest. In Tiger’s case, his ability to consistently achieve High Performance Results may make him the best to ever play the game.
Despite his undoubted abilities, though, golf professionals and enthusiasts know that he is not the best at any of the three golf disciplines. That is, the recent PGA rankings show Darren Clark as the best driver with an error factor of 2.9%, Phil Mickelson, the master of the short game and Ernie Els as the best in putting average 1.678.
Tiger isn’t the best in one discipline — he’s currently ranked 51st in the Putting category. He is still, however, the best in the game and the hardest to beat!
The Power of Three
Hypothetically speaking, think for a moment what would happen if the rules of golf were changed, just a little bit? What if players were allowed to take a “Team Approach” to improve their chances of winning? Simply put, Tiger will play against a team of three. Clark would do all the driving, Mickelson would work the irons and Els would just putt.
The answer is not so mysterious. With a team approach Tiger Woods will not stand a chance and the statistics clearly bear this prediction out. In fact, any combination of three players, one from each discipline [listed in the PGA’s Top Ten] will overcome Wood’s outstanding skills. In the end, the only mitigating factor would be LUCK – a very ironic twist for those who have never played against a Tiger.
Although the game of golf has always been and always will be an individual sport, the point that cannot be lost here is that if professionals were truly allowed to compete as a team, three against one, using only their dominant strengths, they will automatically improve your success—a potential that becomes an irresistible force fueled by a unique Percentage Error Index. Briefly say; regardless of factors such as reputation, behavior or change-of-fundamentals, they will achieve Better Results-Performance and Better Performance Results are EVERYTHING!
Winning golf and business strategies? Where is the connection?
Few would argue that the entire business landscape has been on a slippery slope for the past three decades. Needless to say, many things have changed and many mistakes have been made at all levels in all industries. In addition to asking, “What have we learned?”
Over the years, I’ve paid a lot of attention in the articles I’ve written about the changes in how companies market and sell, the people who do it, and how the basics are so uncomplicated that they’re anything but static.
Another look in the rearview mirror shows that the 1980s ushered in a new ‘Technology Age’, with the computer at the core of business. Traditional vendors were suddenly outnumbered due to lack of computer and techno skills. It was their fault even though they knew how to sell.
The industry tried to compensate by quickly adopting the new ‘Salesman Model’ of the Technical Sales Professional affectionately known as the Techie. For a while it seemed that this strategy satisfied the need to have first-hand sellers who were qualified [comfortable] with the ever-changing complications of new products and solutions in what was quickly becoming an ever-changing market. That was, however, until the late 80s when a major flaw was discovered in Tekno Dealers – They couldn’t sell!
Looking for answers as to why profitability was declining and customer loyalty was a thing of the past, companies were shocked to find that they had front lines of ‘Tellers’ not ‘Sellers’. Those who were in the trenches had knowledge and skills in the technological field, but unfortunately lacked in Sales discipline because it clearly contradicted their psychological comfort and expertise – Technology.
Lacking the skills of a professional salesperson, customers were left morally unimpressed and free to purchase solutions from other Tellers at a better price. Unfortunately, many companies learned this lesson the hard way and did not survive.
In the 1990s, the industry began to work on fixing the Vendor Model problem that believed that Techno Vendors needed to change if they were to be successful. General Sales Training will surely solve the problem, won’t it? And what about natural sellers? Couldn’t they be taught to be Technical Experts as well?
Well, everything is possible, especially in theory but often impossible in practice. In the absence of a better plan and few options, companies spent much of the late 1990s investing considerable time and effort trying to shift the focus on people who were asked to do more with less money, time, and resources.
There is no better example than the high-tech industry where, for a time, compatibility issues meant that even network solutions and telecommunications providers had trouble defining their markets, and customers never mind the challenges faced by the leading vendors. These turbulent times led to great discontent, dissatisfaction, excessive communication and many corporate casualties.
You might be asking now, what if it has anything to do with Tiger Woods or the Percentage Error Index?
Unlike the golf game that doesn’t change, business marketing and sales strategies can, should and will.
To find confidence in the changes required for today’s corporate sales strategies, we must first subscribe to Dave Pelz’s golf example of the ‘Percentage Error Index’ discussed earlier in this article. He simply said; Tiger Woods, arguably the best player to ever swing a club, will prove that there is no competition when he is challenged by three of the PGA’s top players from three disciplines. [Driving, Chipping and Putting]. The statistics cannot be denied.
What we get from this is, a collection of competitors doing ‘Only’ what they do ‘Best’ and nothing else improves the Percentage Error Index to a level that eliminates the chance of victory for any individual competitor. – even the best is unique.
Would the same ‘Team Approach’ strategy produce similar results for corporate sales? The Percent Index of Error Factor, will prevail? In a word, Yes.
Top salespeople, like golfers, have a mix of strengths and weaknesses that ultimately determine how well they do in each of their disciplines. Like Tiger Woods, their innate talent is what keeps them ahead of the pack. Like the Tigers, their chances of success are predictably reduced if they compete against a team of vertical specialists.
“You can’t make a silk bag out of a sow’s ear” or “You can’t change the spots of a leopard” – choose the analogy you want. The lesson we remember moving forward in 2003 is that we have to stop trying to change the fit or comfort levels we look at in order to compete with future corporate expectations. This does not mean that the staff cannot change or improve, but it should be the fact that the ‘Team Strategy’ is designed to keep the players in a comfort zone. [intrinsic to them] using only your natural expertise, the formula that reduces errors and mathematically increases sales success.
Let the front sellers hunt and gather – create opportunities for potential sales – that’s what they’re good at. Don’t fool them with your papers. Let them be the quarterback of the team, coach, if you will. Give them the flexibility to coordinate an approach using a talented pool of professionals who combine their vertical skills to ensure reliability and seamless communication with customers by eliminating any Risk – thereby promoting a positive atmosphere in which to do business.
They should be allowed to work as a team, be held accountable as a team and most importantly be rewarded as a team. This does not mean that the pay should be equal. The operating room of the hospital works as a team but with fees that are appropriate for each station.
Players need to be clear about their responsibilities and the expertise they bring to encourage the team. There should be no doubt about the individual’s Performance-Results-Expectations. ‘Team Strategy’ should be honed and practiced like an actor rehearsing for a part. Make no mistake; every team player is a player who confidently plays a persuasive role in his discipline that clearly focuses on: a) meeting the needs of the customer, b) neutralizing the competition for his own success, and c) the success of the team and the company.
Whether in sport or business, Performance Results continue to be the primary challenge, and, the determining factor of success. A Team approach that uses only the vertical strengths of each individual is a winning formula that clearly ensures success in the competitive corporate market or on the links – even when facing masters like Tiger Woods.
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