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Go On, Be A Tiger

From the moment he putted with Bob Hope on the Mike Douglas Show at age two, Tiger Woods appeared destined for fame. After an unprecedented junior and amateur career, his entry into the professional ranks in 1996 received tremendous publicity ? and one of the largest sponsorship contracts in history. At age 28, having claimed 40 PGA Tour titles and with eight majors in his trophy case including the Tiger Slam, he has exceeded the loftiest expectations. Even more impressive, he is one of the most recognizable faces on the planet and is bringing thousands of new fans and players to the game.

Those of us who have regular jobs often feel pressure to perform. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to work with 50,000 people standing nearby and a worldwide television audience watching your every move, and you will briefly experience what it feels like to be Tiger. His disciplined approach to becoming the world's dominant player is well documented. From his father teaching him concentration by employing distracting tricks, to learning a new swing despite winning The Masters by a record 12 strokes in 1997, Tiger dedicated himself to perfecting his "A" game.

Success Handler Action: With your team, discuss your "A" game. Talk about the things you do best in your small business. Here are some questions to help you get started:

~ What are the strongest areas in your company?

~ Where do you consistently beat your competition?

~ In what ways are you improving every day?

~ How do you maintain playing at the highest level?

~ Which things can you change to make you and your team even better?

In 2000-2001, when Tiger became the first player to hold all four modern majors simultaneously, he took the game to an unimaginable level. Drives boomed 310 yards dead solid perfect. Long irons nestled close to the hole. Twenty-foot putts disappeared center cut. Playing in the final group on Sunday with Tiger became an unbearable burden for otherwise great players.

More than anything during his incredible run, it was Tiger's attitude that allowed him to devour fellow competitors. He believed no one could beat him, and proved it on golf's biggest stages. As a small business owner, it's essential to take the same approach. You and your employees must have a vision of greatness for your company ? your perfect swing ? and set about practicing every day whatever it takes to get you there.

Success Handler Action: Gather your team and talk about what it would look like if you were the number one operation in the world, the best of the best ? a Tiger. To set out on your path, follow these five steps:

1. Conduct a SWOT, identifying your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

2. Have each team member define which areas they most impact

3. Outline specific action steps for capitalizing on Strengths and Opportunities

4. Create a plan for changing Weaknesses and responding to Threats

5. Set specific timetables for completing initiatives, and hold individuals accountable

If Earl Woods had not imagined what Tiger could become, his career might have peaked at age two and he would simply be Eldrick to a small circle of friends and coworkers. Add Earl's vision to Tiger's incredible passion and you have a combination for greatness. Create vision and passion in your franchise business?and you will find yourself flashing bright smiles and pumping your fist in celebration on a regular basis.

Copyright ? 2004 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (http://www.successhandler.com), and specializes in helping small business leaders, franchisees and franchisors find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he's been there ? as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.

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