Shane Lowry Dominates the British Open

The Power of Meaning – And What It Means to You

Shane Lowry dominated the British Open last week (July 18 -21, 2019) and never wavered once he took the lead, winning by a commanding six strokes at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland on Sunday. It was his first major win, and his second big victory on Irish soil, having won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009, thus kicking off his professional golf career.

But, this victory aside, Shane has not been a big winner. Since 2009, he has won three other tournaments, and struggled much of the rest of the time. So, what explains his outsized performance when playing in Ireland? It is the proven power of Emotional Meaning.

In this tournament, Shane was not just playing in Northern Ireland, he was representing all of the Irish because his family, friends and neighbors were right there rooting him on.

In addition, he was also representing them in a Major, one of the four most prestigious golf tournaments of the year. And, lastly, this is only the second time in the 159-year history of the British Open that the tournament was held in Northern Ireland. Given these factors, this tournament was emotionally supercharged with real significance and real meaning.

Human emotion is everyone’s high performance engine. For Shane, the emotional meaning, the importance, and the higher level of esteem combined to drive him, energize him, focus him, and enable him to soundly defeat the best players in the world.

We see the same phenomenon in the Olympics where the host country athletes win over 30% more medals because they are representing their country at home. Let that sink in.

The power of meaning is regularly turning great athletes into the best athletes in the world. This happens repeatedly, so it is a human super charger.

What does this mean to you? Just imagine if you could tap into this as a leader? What if you had the ability as a coworker to rally your team to achieve great things? What if you had the ability to take an entire company and motivate everyone in it to reinvent your industry? The power is endless, and the ability to find meaning and energetically share it is a skill you can get better at.

Don’t ignore this, actually think about it. Think about your work, your family and your life. What opportunities do you have to share a spark that ignites passion in yourself and others? People do this, and so can you. It is a simple matter of learning and practice.

So, go ahead, give it a try in a small way. Practice, work on your “stroke”, and improve your game. With practice, you can find a way to turn on your supercharger and supercharge others. In the new world of work, idling is just no longer an option.

About the author: Frank Wander is the CEO and Founder of PeopleProductive Inc., a human capital productivity company whose solutions enable clients to build high performance cultures where leaders, teams and individuals are both motivated and able to give their best, because what your people produce means everything

Thumbnail image credit - The British Open trophy every golfer wants: The Claret Jug at St. Andrews. Mark Runnacles / Getty Images

Frank Wander

Frank Wander, a former CIO, is the founder and CEO of PeopleProductive (, and the author of Transforming IT Culture, How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms (Wiley, 2013). This unique book is the first operator’s manual for human infrastructure and will help you successfully transform your leadership style and organization.

PeopleProductive has taken that concept to the human side of the enterprise. We similarly help you find, measure and fix a broad spectrum of behavioral, emotional and enablement issues. For the first time, you can eliminate the inefficiency that holds highly productive people back and measurably increase productivity.

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