Get your business off the 1st tee: Hit more greens and sink more putts!
Company A is doing great! They have record-breaking profits this quarter, despite the economic downturn. Their turnover rates are low and employees are motivated to succeed. Company B, on the other hand, is struggling. They have low employee morale, high turnover rates and profits are sagging. What could Company A be doing that Company B is not?
The people at Company A apply the skills they’ve learned on the golf course to their business. Not only is golf a great networking tool, but it also teaches many important business lessons. Fortune 500 companies like FedEx, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Kodak and many others know the power of golf. They’ve put their money into the PGA Tour for three main reasons:
1. They know the power of brand association consumers make with the winning values of golf.
2. They know the relationship potential golf has in the business world.
3. They get the experience to play with golf professionals and corporate executives in Pro/Am events.
So, even if you’re not a golfer, how can you take the lessons and skills learned on the course and apply them? Here are a few insider tricks and techniques to apply to your company:
Anyone can get off the first tee … the question is, are they effective?
Think of the first tee in golf as the start of any project, job or plan in business. It’s where everything starts. It’s the place where you feel an offensive attitude like, “give me the ball, I want to play” or a defensive one like, “don’t throw me the ball, I’m not any good.”
It is your business attitude that will either help you hit down the middle of the fairway or slice it out-of-bounds. Your vision can give you a head’s up on the competition. Here are some tips for creating a clear vision to get your business team off the tee more efficiently.
- Create a mission/vision statement. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Here is an example of a Fortune 500 company that has done this well.
Slogan/Motto: Driven to be the best
Mission Statement: To be America’s best run, most profitable automotive retailer.
Description: AutoNation is at present one of the leading car dealers in the U.S., selling new and used automobiles, car parts, vehicle insurance and warranty, as well as doing repairs and other bodywork.
How do we hit more greens in golf – and make more “green” in business? It’s all about course management! In golf, course management is how to think your way around the course. The better players take risks when it is calculated in their favor. They get back in play when a shot goes astray, and they score when they are in position to take the shot.
In business, the course management is usually defined by the team leader or supervisor. Goals define your direction, and sharing your goals with others will help you hit the small targets to reach your ultimate goal.
Here are some tips on hitting and making “the green.”
- Work with your caddy. In business, this means sharing the vision with the rest of your company. You are only as strong as the team supporting and cheering you on. Check in with your staff members regularly, and preferably on a weekly basis.
- Make sure your equipment fits. In golf, it’s important that clubs fit you – not the other way around. In business your processes, technology and equipment should fit your needs and be up-to-date. Do your employees feel like their time is wasted with outdated procedures and equipment?
- Love every club in your bag - and every member on your team! Each employee has specific gifts and talents to bring to the table. Did you know if there is a club in your bag that you never use because you really don’t like it, it brings your game down? It’s giving off negative energy you are probably not aware of. It’s the same with your employees. So, you have two choices:
1. Take it out of your bag and replace it with something you do like: Remove the negative employee and replace him with someone who brings a more positive energy to the team
2. Start thinking, “I love this club”: Change your way of thinking to focus on the positive “I may not love this person, but they bring ____________ to the team… or they bring an element to this company that we need.”
- Hit the shot when you are ready. Your pre-shot routine will let you know when you are ready. If you don’t have a routine you have nothing to fall back on when the pressure is on. In business, your pre-shot routine may be a short, motivational meeting before your client comes into the office, or a pep talk you have with your sales representatives when you go to a client lunch. It could be a weekly meeting with your staff to check in on company goals. Whatever it is, create a routine and stick to it. You will you feel ready to accomplish anything!
- Take enough club! Your pre-shot routine will help you make the game more routine. But if your ego gets in the way thinking, you’ll start to believe you can muscle your way around the course. Most amateur golfers think they can hit the ball farther than they do. They will come up short, finding themselves in the water or in a bunker (what many golfers call “sand traps”… FYI, animals get trapped, golfers get in and out of bunkers). In business, don’t come up short by letting your ego get in your way.
- How to sink more putts… or in business terms, how to close the deal! In golf, you have 18 chances to make a mark, sink the putt and get ahead of the rest of the field. In business, it’s essential to take the shot when you are in the right position. Here are some ways to sink more putts:
- Get off the driving range hitting just your driver,and focus your time and energy on the practice green. Did you know 50 – 60 percent of the game takes place in the short game? Putting is the one part of the game that requires brains over brawn. Similarly, in business, much of your success is about making sure the little things get done. Your business goals are made up of smaller goals or targets. If you’re not hitting the smaller targets first, then you can’t make the bigger goals happen – then, you’re defeating the team.
- Love your putter. If you say you hate your putter, there is no way it will work for you at optimum performance. The moment you love the tool you are using it becomes even better in your hands. Similarly, you must love your product, service and company. Even if you’ve had a bad day at the office, think positive thoughts about your situation and elevate your actions with the power of your mind.
- Visualize yourself making the putt, making the sale or seeing your client happy with your product or service. Acting as if you’ve already seen the outcome is a powerful tool top athletes use in every sport.
- Believe you are the best putter or salesman in the world! It is this inner belief in yourself that brings you success in all you do. Your inner attitude will help you sink the putt, close the sale or make the deal that drives you toward success.
Getting off the first tee, hitting more greens and sinking more putts begins with an inner belief that says, “I can do this.” The most successful companies in the world know this… just ask Nike!
About the author:
Randy Friedman is a corporate golf professional, speaker and founder of Golf Mind Power. She coaches management, workers compensation as well as other insurance businesses to better risk and loss ratio performance from the ground up. Her book, “Your Inner Swing,” shows how self-limiting beliefs can affect performance at work, in sports and even in one’s personal life. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-240-7828.