One of the most productive teams in sports is the combination of pro and caddy. It may be the most intimate of team relationships. Both are on the field of play all the time and experience the same conditions with a shared purpose. Both are vested in maximizing an outcome.
The caddy mantra: “Show up. Keep up. Shut up.”; is also a performance measure which at times defines the reasons a pro separates from a caddy. The best of the best caddies know how to maximize the mantra for the mutual reward of their boss and themselves. A win-win achieved by clearly understanding their role in the competition.
In business this same caddy – pro relationship dynamic is a cornerstone of success. Many of us are heads of functions or departments. All of us are accountable to someone. Everybody in business is a caddy for someone. Yet, in business, there is a bit of a twist on the caddy mantra of success – not to diminish the mantra.
Show up – yes, our employees have a role and they need to show up. Showing up unprepared is not showing up. Are the folks who work for you prepared for the day? The conditions? If it is going to rain have they come prepared with an umbrella? In other words are they in the game? How deep?
Keep up – as a leader, you are the band leader, you are the one taking the shot, you set the pace. Are your employees keeping up with the changes in the business? Are they harkening back to old “stages” of the business where what worked then is not applicable or relevant now?
Shut up – not necessarily literally. However, no whining. Ever. Unrealistic expectations and development of a gap to reality is not the problem of the pro or the boss. It falls squarely on the employee. Each person is responsible for their own happiness. If a caddy does not like to do their job in hot weather – they don’t attend the bag. Happiness is not the obligation of the pro. Achievement is. Happiness as a derivative of achievement is a sought after aspect of success.
The overall conditions that the pro/caddy work in are not in their control. They can only control their address of the condition. Whining is rarely permissible. When a pro hits a splendid shot and then experiences an unfair bounce? To whine is not divine! Rub of the green – they will say. And then? The pro/caddy team gets about the solution and more often than not executes an effective recovery shot.
The majority of employees do a good job at showing up. A few less have a capability or interest in keeping up in a swiftly changing environment. And when a very few whine, or fail to shut up? The responsibility to correct does not fall upon the boss unilaterally. The employee needs to check their own happiness index first. More often than not it’s about developing, or perhaps, maintaining the elusive balanced perspective. For these employees who may need a perspective calibration I offer a quote they can use to help them see their environment.
To quote Kurt Vonnegut’s “good Uncle” Kilgore Trout: ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”