In just a few short weeks one of golf’s greatest traditions, the Ryder Cup, will bring tens of millions in revenue to the region when the tournament is played at Medinah Country Club. This will provide an excellent boost to the economy as we transition from summer to autumn.
I thought it would be seasonal to take a moment and explore the everyday lessons businesses can take away from the sport. It’s often said that a lot of business gets done on the golf course, but the game also provides great lessons for leadership and personal improvement.
Golf is a game of concentration, focus and patience. When I reflect on the great business leaders chronicled in books and within the community, these same three attributes often come to mind.
Athletes of every type are character profiles in concentration. Over the screams of thousands of fans and spikes of adrenaline, athletes rise to the occasion to sink the birdie, catch the touchdown or hit a homerun on a full count.
Business leaders too must exhibit this same form of concentration and discipline. Balancing the needs of the upcoming payroll, accounts receivable, the new business pipeline, community involvement, product development, mentoring your staff, and keeping your personal life in order is a pressure cooker just as intense as a sold-out stadium.
To be an effective executive, owner or manager, requires discipline and concentrating on the items that matter. Do we spend our time thinking about office politics and the minor disturbances that arise, or are we using our analytical skills to anticipate our clients’ needs and how we can provide better service? Blocking out the distractions is necessary for a thriving workplace where our employees operate at their best.
I am also inspired by the ability of great golfers to completely let go of the missed shot and remain focused on what lies ahead. Too often we can begin overanalyzing and focusing too much on the past, instead of what’s next. On the course, if we’re not careful one bad swing will begat other bad shots and before we know it, the round is over and our stroke count resembles that of a bad bowling score.
Just like in business, bad swings are just a part of the game whether you’re a professional or an occasional player. In business we never foray into something expecting to fail. Instead, after putting our best efforts into it, we can end up with a bad result. That’s life let it go.
A missed business opportunity or a lost client is a learning opportunity. Spending our time wallowing won’t help us get a better result tomorrow and it certainly doesn’t build momentum toward future success. In business, we have to remain focused on our end goal and our organization’s mission.
Finally, what makes a great golfer and an outstanding business leader is patience. It seems as if patience is a virtue that has gone the way of dinner jackets. It’s not to say that we are impatient, but rather we are connected to everything and everyone from the moment we wake up, to the moment we go to bed. In this environment we can quickly be overwhelmed, overtaxed and easily agitated.
We have to take a moment, take a step back and remember that things take time, especially good things. Today’s issues are forgotten tomorrow and having a healthy appreciation for the ebb and flow of today’s workplace is critical to success.
Like a champion golfer we’ve got to play things for the long term.
In a few short weeks we will get to personally witness some of the best golfers in the world competing against each other. This will be an exciting time for our region and a time for personal reflection.
Since this was a golf-themed column, I hope to see many of you next week at the Mayor’s Golf Outing. Thank you for your continued support and membership.