A simple game we have made hard with too much knowledge and information.

As you already know, Swing Thoughts is a term often found in golf vernacular. They are not always technical or mechanical, but more often pave the way to quieting your mind and freeing yourself from your inner demons so you can perform to the best of your ability. Swing Thoughts are about getting out of your own way by narrowing your focus to a few key thoughts.

I’ve always enjoyed playing golf, but Swing Thoughts have never been very helpful in “freeing myself from my inner golf demons”.

However, over the past few years, the concept has become very helpful when working with clients in areas of brand development and internal culture initiatives, or any people development initiative.

My first application of the concept was several years ago when asked to conduct a series of focus groups for a startup that would compete with AARP on their benefits/service offering. It was a complex, multi-dimensional task, but the client felt the time was right and hired us to gain critical insights into the 55+ marketplace. After conducting an appropriate number of focus groups, we began to compile our information and make our recommendations. The overriding thought through all this was…how in the world will this client execute the most crucial of our recommendations, much less the myriad of items on his agenda. What were we going to provide that would help them better understand their client and help them “get out of their own way”? So, in addition, to the lengthy, bound executive summary, we handed him a single sheet with three simple key thoughts…our first version of Swing Thoughts.

They were:

1.We don’t need to meet the offerings of AARP. We must meet the needs of our members.

2.This group (55+) is unwilling to pay $16/year for benefits/services AARP offers. They are willing to pay up to $50/year for what they want.

3.This group (55+) desires a relationship based on Trust—Honesty—Accountability—Dialogue. They want an organization to believe in. They want results. They don’t want to be patronized.

Our client graciously thanked us, paid us, and began preparing a list of competing services to offer their members.

Undaunted, we continue to keep our eye on the end game of clarity and focus in the form of Swing Thoughts. Although a marketing strategy or change initiative is often multifaceted and complex, the key to successfully executing your plan or communicating your brand often comes down to a few strategic Swing Thoughts.

Too much information only shuts down our ability to execute. It literally creates paralyses from analysis. Which leaves me with one simple, slightly adapted Swing Thought…

Play golf (Communicate your brand) with vision, feel, and creativity.