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Hit Your Spots
When I was younger, I used to play and watch golf quite often. My father enjoys golf, and he would take me with him on many of his Saturday morning rounds.
As a kid, it was all about DISTANCE. All I cared about was how far I could whack the ball with a driver—ESPECIALLY when I could outdrive my friends.
When I was 15, I watched a young Tiger Woods win the Masters by 12 strokes while hitting the ball farther than anyone had ever seen. That made golf even more appealing to my teenage brain.
At 16, I even took a part-time job at a local golf course. I picked the range and washed the carts in exchange for minimum wage and FREE GOLF.
If you know anything about golf, you know how mentally and emotionally infuriating it can be. The more I practiced and played, the farther I learned to hit the ball. But the farther I hit, the WORSE I SEEMED TO GET.
I never shot a good score at the golf course where I worked. NEVER! Every time, I would get frustrated and just swing harder and harder to compensate.
This proved two things to my teenage mind:
#1. Golf is stupid.
#2. I was no Tiger Woods.
Now, as an adult, I almost never play. I could still outscore my teenage self, and that's because I understand something that I never did then, regardless of all my practice:
You just need to hit your spots.
Nowadays, both Tiger and I are balding and have been kicked in the teeth by life enough to know that you “drive for show and putt for dough,” as my Dad used to say.
I once watched a documentary where Tiger was working with a new golf club manufacturer. He was talking about how his focus now is never optimizing distance but rather optimizing consistency and repeatability.
It doesn't matter as much if that 9-iron carries 160 or 140 yards; it matters much more if it gives the same repeatable result time and time again with the same swing.
The HVAC business is like that as well.
My son came home the other day and proudly mentioned, “Sam and I did a compressor today, and it only took 3 hours.”
I remember a time when beating my previous time on a compressor or changeout was a big deal to me as well, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Those of us who have done this a while know that the really important part is less about if a compressor can be installed in 3 or 5 hours and more about:
- Getting your diagnosis right
- Reconfirming the diagnosis of others
- Confirming it's the correct part
- Looking for and correcting the underlying causes of failure
- Doing the job properly
- Lifting and working in a way that prevents injury
- Testing everything completely once the system is running
- Communicating well with the customer so that they are thrilled with the service and feel they got an excellent value
- Completing the paperwork
- Returning everything to the work van in an organized fashion
- Dumping your garbage and tagging/turning in any warranty parts or cores
That is just one example of many tasks a tech needs to accomplish well in a workday that may not have any flash and may result in the job taking a bit longer.
An experienced tech knows that you don't just make money by working fast and collecting checks. You keep your money by eliminating costly mistakes that result in:
- Warranty calls
- Upset customers
- Failed inspections
- Driving complaints
- Conflicts with other employees
All of these mistakes happen when you are rushing around focused on “driving the ball long” rather than “hitting your spots.”
We work in a precision-based, cognitive trade. Understanding and detail are at a premium over brute force.
We are like golfers. Our precision, focus, and patience are at a premium rather than brute strength or natural talent.
We can learn to discipline ourselves for better results over time by eliminating small mistakes and getting more and more consistent in hitting our spots.
Like in golf, we will NEVER be perfect, but our results will continue to improve the more we focus on a sound strategy rather than “gripping it and ripping it.”
The MINDSET of hitting our spots really matters to our results, and supporting ourselves with tools and processes to help prevent gaps and mistakes can make all the difference.
Drop the ego, calm down, focus, and hit your spots to maximize your results and earning potential.