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Don’t stop seeking and learning when you feel you’re on top of your game.
Don’t stop seeking and learning when you feel you’re on top of your game.
November 25, 2016 7:00 AM CST

Fundamentals Are the Foundation of Business Success

Contractor tip of the month


You’ve heard the definition of insanity, haven’t you? It’s doing something the same way, over and over, yet expecting different results.

Take golf, for example. If you practice your swing without using the correct movements while on the driving range, you won’t become much better, regardless of how many swings you take. Because to become good at the game of golf, there are basic fundamentals you must master.

It’s no different in the business world. However, instead of studying and trying to emulate how the top business leaders operate daily, many of us just go to work doing the same thing day in and day out, while expecting different results.

The reality is, if you go to work every day and do not practice efficient success fundamentals, you will likely wind up at the end of your working years without ever becoming truly successful at what you do — per my earlier definition, insane.

Over the last 30 years, I have never missed the annual golf trip that a group of friends and I take. At the end of each year, my cousin Russ handicaps each of us by tallying how we scored during the last several rounds of our most recent trips, and ranks us from best to worst. From 2009 to 2015, my average handicap was 32, placing me 27th out of 28 golfers. Not good, to say the least.

When it came to business, I felt I was on top of my game. But when you’re on a golf trip, you’re judged on how well you play golf, not your recent business performance. I thought, “Why can I ‘crush it’ when it comes to leading numerous successful companies in the real world, but not on the golf course?”

Heck, I even have a small private course to hit balls around in my own yard. But even with the increased practice, I just couldn’t seem to improve my game. Drained and embarrassed after the 2015 golf trip, I asked myself how I would handle this situation in my work life. The answer was that I would have to become a student of the game. Instead of just “putting in my time” and guessing how to swing the club, I would need to spend time learning the fundamentals of the game of golf.

When I did an Internet search for “the number one training aid in golf,” Ben Hogan’s book, Five Lessons — The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, came up. So I bought it. It was a short and simple read that I truly enjoyed.

Even though Ben’s book was written 59 years ago, it remains the number one golf training book today. One of the parts that really hit home was when Ben stated, “Without learning the basic fundamentals, if a golfer stands out there on the practice tee till he’s 90, he’s not going to improve. He’s going to get worse and worse, because he’s going to get his bad habits more and more deeply ingrained.”

He goes on to say, “The average golfer is entirely capable of building a repeating swing and breaking 80 in one golfing season, if he learns to perform a small number of correct movements.” The crazy thing is, according to Ben, the average golfer has all the physical equipment he needs to execute a full swing. It’s not a talent or ability factor, it’s that the average golfer doesn’t know what to do when he’s swinging the club.

So it wasn’t my lack of ability that was holding me back. Instead, it was the golfing fundamentals, such as the plane of my swing. Back to the Internet I went, and found a training aid called the Plane Swing and ordered it right away.

This training device actually does double-duty, in that it teaches you a proper swing plane, while getting a little exercise in at the same time. Between Ben’s book and the Plane Swing trainer, I’ve been able to make time for regular physical activity and have added at least 40 yards to my average drive.

Eight months, an old book on golf fundamentals and the Plane Swing trainer later, and I was a serious student of the game. And guess what happened next? For the first time in over 15 years, I scored in the 80s at our country club. I even did it four times in a row! That’s at least 15 strokes better than my average score there over the last 10 years.

Business is no different than golf.

In business, there are fundamentals that must be practiced daily to get better results. And just like I was able to find golfing fundamentals in a 60-year-old book, there are tons of books (new and old) offering lessons in business fundamentals from many of the top business leaders in the world. These fundamentals are also taught in seminars, and can be learned by networking with other business leaders in your industry.

You have to start by becoming a student of the (business) game. Don’t stop seeking and learning when you feel you’re on top of your game. Learning is a lifelong process. It all starts with building a foundation — starting with the fundamentals. So today I encourage you not to live out the definition of insanity, but instead to start each day learning the fundamentals of business.

About the Author

Damian Lang is a mason contractor in southeast Ohio and inventor of many labor saving masonry systems and products. Lang has served as the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America. He is also author of the book Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry. To network with Damian on contractor tips or tips you have and would like published, contact him at or 740-749-3512.


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