Even though the links on the local municipal golf course where my dad was a PGA teaching pro were lined with a cast of characters from CEOs to construction workers to celebrities and everything in between, everyone followed course etiquette. In other words, players minded their manners and showed respect to fellow players:
- never walk on someone else’s line
- be quiet
- no distractions
- don’t leave the green until everyone has finished putting
- tee off based on honors
Unlike other sports, you rarely hear about professional golfers being involved in scandals.
Here a few of the lessons I learned on the links that apply to business:
Play the ball where it lies.
You have to deal with what is happening now. Sometimes you land in hazards. In business, there is no ‘get out of hazards free’ card. You have to deal with sticky situations honestly and maneuver your way out. No matter how you landed in an undesirable position, how you respond is up to you.
There are no mulligans.
You only get one chance to make a first impression.
You will have opportunities to make up for mistakes, but you must first deal with them.
Every shot, good or bad, is worth the same.
Whether something good happens or something bad . . . it is still one thing. You can recover or capitalize on one thing at a time. No one shot or mistake defines you. It’s how you recover that counts. Each stroke is one tiny part of an entire round.
Bet on yourself.
In golf, you have to pay to play. Pros pay an entry fee and bet on themselves to win. If they play well, they realize a return on their investment. If not, they don’t get a trophy or a paycheck.
Timing is everything
A good golf swing follows the line and tempo of a pendulum. If you try to power through it, you will disrupt the natural flow and fall short of your goal. There are no shortcuts. If you follow good form, the momentum will carry you through.
Drive for show. Putt for dough.
It’s the little things that count the most. You can rush ahead at lightening speed but if you fail to sink the deal you will never be ahead of the game. There is no such thing as get rich quick or a gimme. You have to practice and master all aspects of the game. It’s the little things, like customer service, quality control and taking care of employees that win loyalty and customers.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
One of the best ways to get to know someone is to play a round. You will discover:
- Do they cheat?
- Do they have a temper?
- Are they polite?
- Are they a good sport?
A great way to build relationships is to play on a team in a charity golf tournament. No matter your level of expertise, everyone plays together and contributes value.
In business, there is no shortcut to building relationships just like there is no shortcut to quality service or products. You can learn how to work smarter, but you never want to compromise on quality. When deciding whom you want on your team – employees, partners, customers, vendors – never compromise.
Are you ready to tee it up?
A version of this blog post is published in Selling on the Green: The art of building trusted relationships and growing your business on the golf course and a podcast interview: http://sellingonthegreen.com/tami-belt/