Today I want to give you some musings about how environmental factors and momentum often play key roles in performance.
What is the impact of others on your individual or team performance?
This week I’ve taken a little sports diversion. The last post focused on how a committed, selfless team can achieve greatness in the Golden State Warriors NBA Championship win.
Today at the U.S. Open we saw how those around you can impact your performance – both in a good and bad way.
Looking at two back-to-back threesomes at the U.S. Open. You see two radically different results. Here’s the golfers and their scores in today’s round at Chambers Bay Golf Course.
In one group you have Jordan Spieth (68), Jason Day (68), and Justin Rose (72) – 208 total score for the group. In the following group you have Tiger Woods (80), Rickie Fowler (81), and Louis Oosthuizen (77) – 238 for the group – 14% higher. That’s a pretty big variation between two groups.
You can’t say they played in different playing conditions (not like one playing in the morning with slower greens and no wind and the other group playing in the afternoon with dry fast greens and swirling winds).
You can only explain so much by the pairings. Both groups had similarly talented players. Both with players favored to win it all (Jordan and Rickie). It wasn’t like one group had great players and the other had weekend duffers.
But how can the two groups have such dramatically different scores? And yet within each group they were so close?
Well what was at play was the impact of their surroundings on performance. Whether it is the course, the shots their playing partners made or didn’t make. Or their emotional mood that developed during the round. Or the crowd’s response to their shots or their playing partner’s shots. They all factor into the result. And today, it appeared to be very impactful.
I’ve noticed the same thing in work groups. I’ve been in ones where everything just seemed to go right. Team members were supportive. Everyone contributed. And the results were amazing. Project goals are attained. Profits are created. It works like a well oiled machine.
And I’ve also been in situations where the group was toxic. Where you literally could sense anxiety, fear, antagonism, depression. Where it was just a self-fulfilling prophesy of a downward spiral. And the result was disaster.
How about you? What have you experienced?
Don’t you find it is extremely hard to perform well in a negative environment? And isn’t it equally easy to succeed in a positive environment?
Wasn’t it Newton who noted that a body in motion will remain in motion. And a body at rest will remain at rest. He addresses both momentum and inertia in this law.
And today, Tiger and company were at rest at the bottom of the leaderboard. And Jordan and company were in motion to the top.
Taken another way beyond the microcosm of this particular tournament, Tiger’s downward spiral in the golf world since his transgressions have continued. And in his head failure on the golf course has become equally as predictable as his past successes on the golf course.
So be aware of your environment. Remember what your Mom told you. Be careful who you hang out with. Because you might get the same results as them. And if they aren’t the results you want then you are often better off finding better friends. And you’ll see better results.