February 16, 2023

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CEA: Your organization’s new X factor

With the Masters coming up, it reminds me that we need to accept when old ways have changed for the better; like using titanium and graphite clubs instead of wooden ones.

As most diehard golfers will attest, we do enjoy watching golf on TV. It’s true. Odd, but true. So I’m stoked about the Masters, which starts today!

The best part is, Xander Schauffele, Hyland’s brand ambassador, is ranked No. 7 going into the tournament, so it would be amazing to see him win. He’s also a fellow San Diego resident, so I’m looking forward to seeing him walking around town in a green jacket soon.

I love the CEA acronym Stefan, Xander’s father and coach, came up with. Because when I’m not golfing, I’m helping customers identify and solve business issues. As Xander says, when you’re approaching any situation, you need to gather all your information, which helps you formulate a plan. Then, you need to commit to the plan; and no matter what happens when you execute, you have to accept the outcome.

Here’s how I think the CEA approach is applicable to the business world, and how embracing it can give your organization an X factor – that extra advantage that makes you successful.


As is true in golf and business, to gain capability, we need a plan. And a plan always involves practice. That means … commitment.

Golf forces us to learn to manage unexpected obstacles – trees, water hazards, thick rough, downhill lies, etc. Before I ever stepped on a course, I went to every single driving range in San Diego County – sadly, I didn’t see Xander – to develop muscle memory and essentially hone my skills. We learn to be precise by practicing with the hopes of avoiding those hazards altogether.

The same is true when we’re talking about digital transformation; the goal is to create a robust enterprise and improve each touch point. By mapping out the flow of work that comes from multiple systems, you drive faster, more efficient processes. You also get manual processes out of the way, so people focus on high-value tasks like helping customers instead of searching for that all-important information.

We gain efficiency by practicing, learning, and listening to others. So commit. Don’t be afraid of exposing the challenges, so you can face them, create a go-forward plan, and eventually overcome them.


That said, plans can change.

When I find myself in a sand bunker (or as I like to say, “Going to the beach” – ah, golf humor!), I promise it was not my intent to land there. To dig my way out, I’m going to choose a club that fits the need based on the circumstance. But to do so, I need to gather all my information: How far from the hole am I? What is the best way to approach it? Is it windy?

Then, I need to execute. We all do. Every day.

Technology is no different. It’s just like choosing the right club. When doing so, ask yourself these questions: What tools are you leveraging to get work done and address challenges? Have you uncovered all the automation capabilities to utilize the technology investments you’ve already made? Does your foundation support the tech you need to deliver value to your organization and customers?


As Stefan says, acceptance is what keeps your mind calm and helps you follow the processes you’ve set up to ensure success. This is really good advice for working in tech field, which continues to innovate and evolve at incredible speed.

Sometimes, we need to accept when old ways have changed for the better; like using titanium and graphite clubs instead of wooden ones. We need to let go of old processes – like those that depend on paper and manual steps – and embrace new ways of getting things done.

For example, Hyland now offers robotic process automation. This powerful technology drives efficiency and accuracy by automating and standardizing repeatable business processes using bots.

Whether we’re talking about business or golf, efficiency and accuracy are extremely important. They’re necessary ingredients for success. Just like committing, executing, and accepting. “A simple system to live by” should be a mantra for all of us, especially in the tech world. Because the easier it is to find what you need to get the job done, the better.

As the Masters begins, I wish Xander and his team success. But more than that, I wish us all success. … And a little golf to go with it.