Find Success in the Fundamentals

Column by Michael Norton


Most of us were taught at an early age, or if not actually taught, we were at least strongly encouraged to lift with our legs not our backs. And we have even been reminded several times, and sometimes over and over again, possibly even right before we attempt to lift something of size or weight. And if this is true, then why are there still so many people throwing their backs out?

The answer is a lack of execution on the fundamentals.

This has been a busy year for me, and I found myself with very limited time for golf. And the few times I have played have been extremely frustrating — I could not hit the ball with any consistency, and I had a loss of distance and direction. Finally I asked Andy, the golf pro at the club where I play, for a little help. Within a few minutes, he quickly diagnosed the problem. My grip was way off. After a few adjustments and another small tip from my friend Mark about my stance, I was back in business.

The difference was found in a refocused approach to the fundamentals with my hands and feet.

When football teams begin each year, they look at blocking and tackling. Baseball players focus on pitching and catching. Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden would start every season with a discussion on how to put on socks and tie sneakers. It’s about the fundamentals.

And even at the highest level of professional sports today, when a team or player is struggling, we can watch the press conference or read in the news as they recommit themselves to the fundamentals and getting back to the basics.

Focusing on fundamentals can help in every single area of life. If we find ourselves struggling with a relationship we can look at our own behaviors to see if we are communicating properly, if we are paying attention to the other persons needs, or making sure we take the time to show our appreciation and gratitude. A revisit to these relationship basics can help improve any ailing relationship.

How’s business? Some would argue that the old saying “the customer is always right” is not accurate. The business basic or fundamental truth is this, “even though the customer is not always right, the customer is still the customer.” No customers equals no revenue. If you want to drive business or increase sales remember this simple principle and provide your customers with what they want and need. Really, if we want more business we need to try taking the focus off of ourselves and start placing that energy and attention on our customers.

It’s funny how often the answers to our biggest challenges and problems can be found in the simplicity of the fundamentals and basics. I appreciate your emails and would love to hear all about how you plan on getting back to the fundamentals at And as always, let’s make it a better than good week.



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