Golf can be so much more than just a leisure sport. The world’s most popular game teaches a lot of lessons. These lessons help players develop better business acumen. Although, the business world is one of the constant competition, you can create a formidable business and become a force to be reckoned with. Golf and business are alike in the sense that they will test your strength, integrity, composure and patience in many ways. It can break down barriers and encourage the development of the common grounds. The golf course is an environment that is conducive for building long lasting connection and business relationships./
The connections you create during golf games are not much different from the ones you create in your regular business circles. It is, therefore, not surprising that Washington University offers international students a crash course on golf. They teach students how to effectively combine golf and academics to get ahead in business. Schools like University of Maryland and The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh both have golf clubs to help their students learn how to approach business on the golf course.
Just like golf, everything in life including business follows a certain pattern. Simply put, golf and business share similar stages. In business we have the preparation stage, which correlates with the training stage in golf. The next stage involves action. Here, you set your business plans in motion, but in golf, this is the stage where you take a swing and set the ball in flight. Finally, you have the part where you assess the result of your action or swing. In every business venture, you just have to take that swing and accepting the results whether good or bad. In case the shot did not hit the desired target or you did not achieve the desired market shares, you can re-evaluate and find out what went wrong. Hopefully, the next time won’t be so disappointed.
Ways to achieve success in business and golf
There are basic rules in golf that are applicable in business. To be successful in business, you should learn about these rules and apply them in your business dealings. Let the lessons you learn at the golf course translate to your business as well.
You know you can’t ignore this right? You need to exercise and maintain a good grip and balance in golf and business. There is no point to embark on a mission to win without adequate preparation? Successful people in business will tell you it took months of preparation before any project starts. In the same vein, you cannot just show up at a golf course hoping to win when you have not practiced. Remember, practice makes perfect. Whether it is in business or in golf, you need to practice and be prepared.
Learn more about the game
It does not matter if you play very well or you don’t know how to play at all, the important thing is to learn as much as you can. The main thing is to use what you have learnt to drive better business opportunity. Share experiences about the game with others in order to forward a business relationship. It is a viable tool.
Use your fear positively
It is alright to be afraid, but what you need to do is to allow the fear to spur you on the road to victory. Let it be your fuel. You should not expect results if you are unwilling to try. The same is applicable to your business, do not be too afraid to take risks or try new things. Explore better ways of achieving results by evaluating past failures and making necessary changes.
Make your opponent your friend
On the golf course, you compete with other players just like you compete with other brands and business. The fact that you are competitors or business rivals in the business scene does not mean that you cannot maintain a cordial relationship with them. This is the same thing that happens on a golf course, that you play against them does not mean that your opponent is your enemy. Golf is supposed to be a friendly game. Your opponent in business as well as in golf should challenge you to be better at what you do. Healthy competition is what the game is all about.
Keep your temper in check
Business negotiations could go sour or not even happen if a client or potential client perceives that you have temper issues. This can all happen while you are both playing golf. Take your time with it else you will come across to your opponent as an aggressive person. Do not forget that it is just a friendly game. Avoid display of violence and do not curse.
Never put the cart before the horse
Never be in a hurry to discuss business, take your time. Perhaps by the time you get to the 5th or 6th hole, then you can initiate a business conversation. Sure you want to foster business relationships during rounds of golf, but that does not mean that you should be hasty about it, allow events to unfold. You should get to know things about your prospective client just as they need to get to know you too. That conversation is one that should come and flow naturally as you hit balls and putt holes.
Keep an open mind
Unlike most other activities that build business relationships, golf gives you the chance to study the personality of your opponent during the course of the game. Just as you have the chance to know them, they also have the opportunity to know you. Have a positive attitude. In as much as it is not a formal meeting place, you can still be professional without being too serious or formal. Be open to possibilities.
Do not cheat
It is alright for you to be result oriented, have a target, but do not cheat to achieve it otherwise you ruin your reputation and whatever, trust your competitor had for you. Broken trust can never be restored. Ensure that you leave a positive, long lasting impression on your partner. No one would like to do business with a dishonest person. Uphold the principles of fair play. Honesty and discipline, those are the stuff great business men and golfers are made of.
Have a pleasant attitude towards players and golf course employees
Exude a calm and confident disposition towards all and sundry. Treat everyone nicely just the way you would relate to colleagues or employees in a business setting. Be open to trying out another game if the client or prospect is not a golfer. The thought of making a fool out of himself is enough reason for that person not to want to go golfing with you. Try and find other ways of bonding with them. It should be all about connecting, relating to different people, creating bonds and making business contacts.
Real estate mogul, Donald Trump, who is a golf enthusiast, says that playing golf gained him access to people he ordinarily would not have had the opportunity of meeting. He admits that a lot of business deals were close to the golf course. But you are not Donald Trump, so bear in mind that business deals do not get closed on the golf course always. So, do not go to a golf course with the sole aim of closing a deal, this could ruin the fun. Besides, you can achieve a lot with over 4 hours of golfing. By the end of the game, be sure to exchange the business cards.
A round of golf should be used to build and strengthen business relations. So go on and excel at golf and at business.