Golf has a lot of lessons that transfer to the business world. In the 21st century, one of the most important is “keeping score.”
Everyone knows the scoring keeping in golf is very simple. Every time a club advances to strike the ball (even if missed) that is called a stroke and is added to the total score for the hole and the round (normally 18 holes).
This post is not going to be about a 300-yard drive and a 1-inch putt both add one stroke to the score – like in business taking a week to make a big decision or a small decision extends the time to revenue a week.
This post is not about comparing a stroke being like an investment and the fact a complete game with “less” strokes is better just like a successful year of business requiring “less” resource invested is better than the same year requiring “more” resource.
This post is not about flow. Every golfer knows the game of golf can be played in three to four hours, four to five hours or it can take forever. Just like in business some sales are contracted and delivered in an almost real-time way, some seem to take forever and like golf, some disappear into the darkness.
These lessons are important and have a significant impact on business survival or success. Those three lessons are transparent. Everyone can see these and make a decision about how to improve either their golf game or their business.
Today’s lesson less transparent and is often ignored or at least justified for humane reasons.
Today’s lesson deals with an intentional state of mind, a commitment, and habits supported by a continuous improvement process.
The intentional state of mind is the most important of this three-discipline lesson bundle. The intentional state of mind is about WHY are you doing this.
For Golf there are three common reasons:
- Love of the golf experience – walking 6 miles, outdoors, the beauty of the course, the people, beer, and the occasional good shot.
- The chance to compete with those in my golfing community (my club, my league, my church, etc.). These are often the same people who bowl, play softball or other competitive community sports.
- The mastery of golf.
For Business there are three common reasons:
- Love being in business as an employee or owner doing stuff, making money, having some control and sometimes making a difference in the community or someone’s life.
- The love of competition. Having a product or service and winning more deals, bigger deals, or the deals you want the most. It is about being the best, winning and making serious money. Everything is measured against the competition.
- The mastery of business over the long-term to service customers and become personally and financially successful as a result. Striving for mastery, providing value for others, continuously improving measure the satisfaction.
The intentional state of mind is about being clear about WHY golf or WHY to be in business.
Reason one for both is about fun, joy, peace, freedom, and control. This a personal thing done for personal reasons.
Reason two if for those who must compete. Not everyone competes in the same ways, but some just must compete for our personal satisfaction. Reason two has danger for both golfers and business. That danger is the level of competition engaged. The golfer who competes in a league at work, or church or even at the club, seldom reaches a level much above those in that league and are often surprised when they end up paired at the next competitive level at state or regional events with little or no success. Playing to the level of the competition has risk.
Business is the same, but the risk is much greater. For the golfer, the risk is embarrassment or having to pay a side bet. The risk for business is believing beating today’s competition means I am good and will succeed over the long-term. Believing that is today’s fast-moving world may be fatal.
Reason three is the intentional mental focus that goes beyond fun (although it may be great fun), the competition is to be the best you or your business can be (not just beating lesser competition or a single golf course) without comparing to others (just learning from them) to keep getting better based. Getting better is about learning from others, history and the best science available to achieve your highest continually moving goals and service to others.
Commitment – the breakfast story addresses golf and business. At a breakfast of ham and eggs, the chicken was involved in the breakfast and the pig was committed having given it all to achieve the best possible breakfast.
Golf and business are full of those who are involved. They may be involved with a great investment. They may have expensive equipment, teachers, lessons, and travel to far off places for business or golf.
Commitment is different it is about a bigger mission. Those who are selfless can commit fully to a business or another activity to achieve something really big. The 21st century is transparent and will quickly show those who engage for selfish reasons and those who are committed to a higher purpose. Those with a higher purpose will get lots of help both seen and unseen.
Habits supported by a continuous improvement process – The power of habits is clear. Habits are automatic creating outcomes without thinking. The right habits the right outcomes and the wrong habits (or none) the wrong outcomes.
Those with that Intentional State of Mind and Commitment will keep getting better based on stringing a long list of supporting habits together to achieve their highest goals and the service to others. There is no place for selfish egos just trying to be better than the next competitor, there is a purity of purpose that demands continuous improvement not to achieve a short-term win but because it is the right thing for the long-term bigger win.
For mastery of golf or business don’t let your attention be on beating others. Focus on YOUR higher purpose (golf or business) develop your intentional state of mind, commitment, and one-by-one build the habits that support continuous improvement for life.
Don’t let the market have to pick which competitor is less bad.