Johnnie Moore

Putting > driving

The power of small gestures in the life of our meetings
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

small gestures contain more of the life of our meetings

Transcript of this video:

My friend, Mark Bloomfield, wrote recently about his experience learning to play golf as a teenager and hearing the wisdom of “you drive for the show, but you put for the dough,”
which essentially was advice not to get too fixated on how hard you
can drive the ball off the tee and how far you can get it to go.

And that effectively if you’re learning to play golf, you’ll get more bang for your buck by focusing on your putting game, the small, subtle moves you make to get the ball in the hole at the end.

And he drew an analogy to organisations where he said it’s very easy to get fixated on grand campaigns, and the big levers of change, the drive if you like, and not pay enough attention to the small subtle interactions we make one human to another all the time in our organisations.

The putting game resonates strongly for me. I can see over the years I’ve got more and more interested in the putting game of working with people. I was thinking of this in a meeting where I found my arm moving out to the side to ask someone effectively by that gesture, not to interrupt someone else.

I think good turn taking can be very powerful in changing the way we hold our conversations. I think it’s particularly useful to remember in tense high stakes conversations like the one that I was effectively interrupting, and as my arm went out I thought, oh, I, I’m not sure I fully intended to do that.

I just found myself doing it. And then I noticed energetically the impact of that on the other people sitting around the table, they really noticed it. So that simple gesture was having a real impact.

Now, I think it was a good move. I think it actually was productive, but almost regardless of my vanity on that point, what it reminded me of is even in that small gesture, you realise how much aliveness there is when human beings are sitting together. Now that aliveness doesn’t always come to the surface, especially if it gets stuck in boring meeting rituals, but it’s always there.

I think I like to focus on that putting aspect of meetings because I actually think there’s a lot more creativity to be found by mining that and not getting too obsessed with the seven step programmes of driving for the show.


Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Share Post

More Posts


There’s more potential in each moment than we realise

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore

I wonder…

Curt Rosengren’s blog is going from strength to strength a nice mix of simple but well expressed career wisdom with occasional nuggets of information about careers in weird things like

Johnnie Moore

Cognitive load = eating more cake

Jonah Lehrer spotted an interesting report in the Wall St Journal. It suggests that our impulse control is reduced when our brains are overloaded – and they get overloaded easily.

Johnnie Moore

Will the net disintermediate a whole class?

Harold Jarche reflects on Jaron Lanier’s prediction that The people who are perhaps the most screwed by open culture are the middle classes of intellectual and cultural creation. The freelance