Sunday, August 26, 2012

Working Smarter: What Golf Can Teach Us About Business

I was sitting here with writer's block wondering what to write for this post. The fact that I couldn't log into my blog management page didn't help, so I did some garden maintenance for a while and then rang to book my golf session for today. "Aha!" I thought, there's my topic for today. What Business Can Learn from Golf. It's surprising where insight comes from, so here goes.

When you play golf, the following factors come into play:

Having the Right Equipment

Before you set out on a round of golf, you need to have the right equipment. For some, this means having electronic gadgets to help keep score, special golf shoes, ball cleaning gadgets etc, but as a minimum one has to have a set of golf clubs, at least a few balls, and a couple of tees. A golf bag to carry it all in is a welcome addition and a buggy with wheels means that you don't have to lug your gear around on your back. If you don't have the right equipment, it's hard to play good golf.

In business, you need to have the right equipment to do the job. Whether that is a high powered computer installation or a pipe-cutting tool will depend on what you do. But whatever you do, you need to be properly equipped to do it.

Know How to Play the Game

Although you don't need to know all the rules unless you want to play competition and become a professional golfer, you have to acquire sufficient skill to know what club to use for what shot and how to hit the ball. From my experience, golf balls have a mind of their own and don't always head in the planned direction.

In business "know how" not only relates to having the skills, knowledge and aptitude to do the work, it also includes having a knowledge of your internal and external environments eg, what is the political environment in which you work?

Have a Game Plan

When I set out for a game of golf, I know where I am going to start and where I want to finish up. I also have a plan of how I want to get there and how I will do that. Unfortunately, I'm still getting rid of all the bad golf shots I was born with, so my vision of how I get to the ninth hole and what actually happens is usually quite disparate.

In business this equates to having plans; a Strategic Plan provides overall focus for the organisation while Operational Plans, as the name suggests, provide shorter term goals and measures so you can tell whether you have achieved your goals. In golf this is called a score.

Execute Your Game Plan

Whether you are playing golf or building thirty story structures, you must execute your plan efficiently and effectively to achieve your objectives. Planning without action is pointless. Action without a plan is haphazard.

And Finally ...

Golf is the best anger management program available to modern man (and women of course). Anger in business or elsewhere is unhelpful. If you play golf and can withstand the constant frustration of missing shots, losing balls, hitting balls in the wrong direction, hitting balls into trees, missing the hole six times in a row from 15" away, and maintain a pleasant disposition and not get angry, you have learnt something that people pay thousands for.

Don't you agree that there are some good parallels between the Scottish game of golf and a top flight business operation?


PS: I'm just about to head off for my game of golf with golf buddy Darrell. See you Wednesday.

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  1. Dsrrell and I had a resonably decent game of golf and as we always say, if nothing else, we had a walk in a beautiful park. The weather is warming up now after a long winter.

  2. Having a good plan and the knowledge how to execute is the first most important things when establishing a new business, you will fail if you won't give attention to these factors.

  3. I couldn't agree more. I recently went on a business trip where we made a stop to play some golf in Vegas. I was grateful I had had lessons and knew the proper etiquette on the course. A good game speaks for itself!


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