Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Parallels of Golf and Leading Your Business

First of all I want to credit my friend, client and fellow golfer, Deb Waitkus, with the idea for this article. Deb is the founder and CEO of Golf for Cause. She is an expert in demystifying the game, turning 'Golf into Gold(TM), and leveraging golf for business. The Rules of Golf which as you may know can be very obscure, daunting, and at time bewildering. It struck me there are many parallels between golf and leading a business. The rules of leading effectively can also be quite daunting and at times bewildering.

The Royal and Ancient Club may not have had business lessons in mind when those rugged Scotsman devised this challenging game, but they did us all a great service both recreationally and professionally when they codified the rules of the game over the years. Here are a few samples of how golf and business parallel each other.

Golf: Penalty Strokes
Business: OK, you goofed. You did something by mistake or even knowingly did something that you could have done better. Be honest about it, admit the error, take the penalty stroke, learn from the error and move on.

Golf: Maximum 14 Clubs
Business: What are the 14 'go to' tools you use most frequently and effectively to lead and manage effectively? Golfers are continually following technological developments and buying new clubs to get that edge. Are your 'leadership tools' the ones you need in your bag? Are you technologically savvy?

Golf: Be Ready
Business: Being ready and prepared for your next shot are critical in maintaining pace and enjoying your round of golf. Are you anticipating and are you ready to meet your next business challenge? Are you considering the lie, have you lined up your next move, can you visualize the ability of your company to respond, are the other players on your team ready to respond?

Golf: Etiquette
Business: Golf is not just getting the lowest score. It is also about etiquette, honesty, and following the rules. You learn a great deal about a person's character, ethic and personal code of conduct when you're playing a round of golf. Wouldn't it be nice to know how your potential clients and colleagues react under pressure before you engage them in business? You can learn this in a friendly round of golf.

For those of you that are golfers I have adapted the Slow Play Test from a Golf for Cause newsletter to a Slow Play Test for Leaders and Manager.
Slow Play Test for Leaders and Managers Yes or No
1. Am I courteous?
2. Do I know when it is appropriate to make the next move to close the deal
or coach a subordinate?
3 Am I ready and proactive when action is needed?
4. Do I note the reaction and change in market to my strategy and tactics;
do I learn from the markets reaction?
5. Do I delay and procrastinate to avoid difficulty decisions?
6. If in doubt, do I have a contingency plan prepared?
7. Am I decisive and committed to my decisions?
8. Do I know how to 'take relief' and guide my team when minor adjustments
need to be made?
9. Am I preparing for my next leadership action as I observe the activities
of my team?
10. Do I note the score, take a quick assessment of results and then move
on rather than dwelling on the past?

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