The game of golf has been referred to as “the gentlemen’s game.” Although, I will reluctantly confess that I myself, as an amateur golfer, have occasionally used “less-than- gentlemanly” behavior after a particularly poor afternoon on the links. A quote that is often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain is, “golf is a good walk spoiled.” (I digress.) As a lifelong student of the sport, I know there are three fundamental principles of golf: play the ball where it lies, always use proper etiquette, and avoid slow play.
Play the ball where it lies
It doesn’t get any simpler than this basic rule of fairness. It applies to every player. As we’ve all experienced, sometimes things just don’t go our way. That potential investor we’ve been pursuing declines to join. An event we’ve put significant time and effort into doesn’t realize the success we had hoped for.
A key employee resigns right before our busiest time of year. Can we do anything about it? Can we change anything in this moment? Generally speaking, no. We know we did our best, and we must deal with it. We must “play the ball where it lies.” We can use these stressful opportunities as an incentive to regroup and get prepared in case a similar situation arises again in the future. But then, we must let it go, move on, and focus on what lies ahead.
Always use proper etiquette
We are each responsible for our own actions. The rules of golf rely on “the player” being held accountable. This also applies to a team. Team members respect honor and honesty. It’s simply good sportsmanship. We can apply those same lessons to our work roles. We need to keep our emotions in check. We need to demonstrate, encourage, and reward success on our chamber or association teams. We should stay positive and be supportive. Proper etiquette and being courteous goes a long way on both the golf course and in the workplace.
Avoid slow play
It’s been said, “patience is a virtue.” In light of my own personality, I’m certain I was absent the day patience was distributed, because I simply don’t possess much of it. It’s all about maintaining your pace. Play too fast, and you wait on the group in front of you. Play too slow, and you frustrate the group waiting behind you. The same principles apply in the workplace. We can seize opportunities by doing the right thing and the smart thing, thereby speeding up play. We can plan ahead by thinking about our next ‘shot.’ We need to always be ‘ready’ and ‘efficient’, both on the course and in the office. We should also recognize that one ‘player’ can often delay the whole course and be a detriment to the entire workplace. In the office, it’s our job as leaders to assist that employee to become a more productive team member.
Recognizing these three simple things can help your golf – and your office – ‘game.’