Vail Daily column: Contributing individually and succeeding together |

Vail Daily column: Contributing individually and succeeding together

This is so much more than a golf story, so stay with me on this one, OK?

You see, one of my favorite things about golf season is having the opportunity to participate and play in fundraising events. These are tournaments set up to help large and small charities alike raise money in a fun and competitive way.

Now if you have never played or participated in one of these events, then let me share with you that regardless of how well you play or how off your game may be, the format usually allows for everyone to contribute individually and then based on how well you are all playing together, you may even have a shot at winning.


The format is typically “best ball,” meaning that everyone tees off and depending on who had the best shot, everyone in the group would get to play their next shot from that “best ball” spot and then continue in that same way until the hole has been completed. And for someone like me who may be having an off year or who had recently developed a case of the shanks, it is great to be able to have others on the team set us all up for success.

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Some of these outings have hundreds of players with some people recruiting the very best golfers that they know in their quest to win. I mean they will make sure they have someone who can really get off the tee with consistency ensuring that there is always a ball in play. They will bring someone who can hit the ball a long way to maybe capitalize on a shot that is much closer to the green. And then they make sure they have a person who has an excellent short game. And because everyone has the opportunity to putt, there are typically one or two great putters on the team.

There have been times where I have been part of groups where our team was assembled randomly, with no consideration for the golf skills or lack of golf talent that any of us had, and yet we won. We were able to win because on that day we each contributed something individually on every hole so that collectively we played off of each other so well that our final score was significantly below par and lower than any other team on that given day.


What if we were in groups or had teams of people in our lives where we could play “best ball” in some of the important areas of our life? I mean what if we had a person who could really help us with managing our finances, and someone else on our team that could help put us in a better position physically, and maybe another team member who we could rely on for emotional support or advice when needed. Who is the spiritual leader on our team who can keep us in the middle of the fairways of life when we tend to drift away from our path? And if we all played together, playing off of each other’s strengths, could we all help one another win more often and win more of the close ones in life? I bet we could.


And let’s take a look at this concept in the business world. One smart strategy that really worked out well for a company that I had worked with was to set up their commission and bonus structure based on team results instead of individual contribution. When they won a big opportunity and delivered the products and services successful to the client’s satisfaction, the team was rewarded as a whole. There was a person who generated the lead or opportunity, there was the sales person who worked with the prospect to win the business, there was an account manager who maintained the relationship, and there was an implementation and delivery team who made sure that everything went according to the plan. They all received a different percentage of the commission and bonus pool, but they all saw how important each one of their roles and individual contributions were to finding, winning and maintaining loyal customers.


So maybe you already know who these people are in your life and you can assemble that perfect “best ball” team for yourself. Or maybe you will find them randomly or by coincidence or by introduction from someone else and that’s all OK. Because the important thing to remember is that as each of you contribute individually, you will all succeed together.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Do you believe in the spirit of teamwork and its impact on success? I would love to hear your thoughts at, and when we can all contribute individually and succeed together, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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