April 03, 2022

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Sometimes, not winning is a good thing

Winning? Yeah, that’s always great. But continuous improvement is a different kind of win. And sometimes, it’s more important.

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele

Professional golfer

Hyland brand ambassador Xander Schauffele wearing an Adidas baseball cap against a white background.

I didn’t win the Masters Tournament.

That’s okay, because I also didn’t lose. And sometimes, just being in the game is a win by itself. Just being in the game is a chance to continually improve.

That goes in any game – especially the game of life.

It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about. From providing healthcare to selling a product and everything in between, it’s all about continual improvement.

And the best way to improve is to use data insights.

Data makes the difference

Data makes the difference. For example, when golfing competitively, my team and I use empirical data sets to run detailed statistical analyses. These data sets pertain to game plans for specific venues, shot-making decisions, etc.

The ability to make decisions based on data makes me more connected to my game. I’m more comfortable and confident in my decision-making process. The end result of all that analysis begins with more confidence when choosing a club and ends with a better swing.

As a younger player, this has helped my team establish a competitive advantage. For example, the conversations I have with my caddy, Austin Kaiser, are much more substantial, focused, and data driven during high-pressure situations.

As my friends at Hyland say, it’s not just about capturing and managing information, it’s what you do with it.

Continual improvement

I wasn’t ranked No.1 going into the Masters. Odds are, in your professional life, you aren’t ranked No. 1 either.

That’s good.

Because if you’re like me, you love the idea of only getting better. It’s all about your X factor, which means not just gathering the right information to promote efficiency, but using that information to make more-informed decisions. And to continuously improve.

During the 2020 Masters Tournament, some of my shots were a little off, but we’ve all experienced that. The mark of a pro is not getting frustrated. And then learning from that experience. I think everyone learned a lot during this year’s Masters. Playing it in November changed the game – there was less daylight and it was very wet. Also, there were no fans. That’s important, because sometimes the gallery helps you identify the contours of the course and locate the exact location of the green.

An empty course is the equivalent of not having complete access to data in business. Without a complete picture, you have to make some guesses. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. And in today’s fast-moving business environment where everyone wants everything right now, guessing doesn’t win the green jacket.

What’s more important, winning or improving?

It all reminds me of when I finished second at the Masters in 2019, one shot behind Tiger Woods.

One. Single. Shot.

“Such a fine line between winning and second place,” as Ryan Asselta of GOLF Magazine said.

So true. But again, the same goes in business. Every single shot counts, so you need to make sure you aren’t guessing.

Now that the 2020 Masters is over, I’m fired up and looking forward to going back to Augusta National in April. Because over the next four months, my team and I plan on looking at all the data and using it to improve.

Winning? Yeah, that’s always great. But continuous improvement is a different kind of win.

And sometimes, it’s more important.