Vail Daily column: It’s not what’s new that works, it’s what works that works |

Vail Daily column: It’s not what’s new that works, it’s what works that works

With so much content and so many authors and experts who write about trends in personal and professional development, sales training, leadership and customer service, I am often asked by customers for the latest and greatest material in these areas. They are looking for that something new — a silver bullet, some magic dust or a cure-all pill to fix their problems, their people or, in some cases, themselves.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of growth and am all for continuing education whether that comes in the form of reading, listening, watching, participating in seminars or cloud learning through socialization of ideas or any other medium for that matter that takes us and/or our teams to a higher level.

Any attempt at upping our game is to be applauded. And when I am asked for specific advice or recommendation for a good book or program to attend, I love to share ideas as well as happily recommend something provocative that I have recently read or participated in. But my favorite thing to do is remind people that it is not necessarily “what’s new” that works. It’s really all about “what works” that works.

Sometimes the latest and greatest writings or advice are adopted quickly as a trend or fad, but they soon meld into some remnant of a concept or philosophy that was written and practiced long ago. I still enjoy these programs and materials because maybe they put a new spin or twist on an old theory, and I get to experience it in a new and different way. Many of the books I have read are dog-eared and highlighted in different colors and tabbed with different color sticky notes as I have gone back to the same books many times over. It’s like watching your favorite movie for the 10th time and hearing a line or seeing a scene that you previously missed.

When Hall of Fame baseball player Ted William finished the 1941 baseball season with a .400 batting average was he using today’s technology to achieve his results? When golfing greats Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson recorded golf scores in the low 60s they surely weren’t using the clubs, grips, balls and swing technology we use now. As a matter of fact, I would bet that any of today’s baseball players such as Troy Tulowitzki or Derek Jeter and golfers such as Bubba Watson or Tiger Woods would have been equally good if they played with the same equipment and competed in the same era as the above mentioned greats.

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I say this with confidence because it really isn’t about the equipment, it’s about the player, the talent, the work ethic and the practice. With a focused approach on effort, practice and the fundamentals we can all excel in anything we strive for in our personal life, our business or in our recreational activities. So even with all the technology and gadgetry available to us, it really isn’t about “what’s new” that works, it is about finding “what works” that works.

What about you? Do you focus on effort and practice or do you look for the newest or latest and greatest equipment to up your game? Either way, I would love to hear all about it at And I do believe that when our efforts and practice outpace our search for the next new thing, it really will be a better than good week.

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

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