Golf Helps You To Examine The Personality of Your Playing Partners
FREEDOM: Examine the Personality of Your Playing Partners
You probably want to do business with people who have the level of trustworthiness, character, and integrity to which you hold yourself. It can take quite a while to discover who a person is when your time together is spent only in the office, over lunch, or at a networking function. We can all wear social masks, and those masks prevent us from seeing a person's character, temperament, integrity, and other important qualities.
To find a woman's true character, play golf with her.
-- Adapted from P. G. Wodehouse
Playing a round of golf can shorten this discovery process. While playing eighteen holes, you'll see, for example, whether a person cheats, how he or she handles challenges, if he or she has a sense of humor, or if the person is a team player. I tell you more about what you can learn about a person during a round of golf in Chapter 6.
One financial consultant in San Francisco takes prospective clients out for a round of golf to decide whether he wants to work with them and manage their portfolios. When one prospect threw his club into a tree after a missed shot, the financial consultant knew he didn't want him for a client.
The financial consultant and I share the same philosophy about clients: Not all clients are good clients. Some clients can be more demanding than the fees that they pay. Others are never satisfied with your work and have unreasonable expectations. I prefer to know this information before taking on such people as clients. By spending time during a round of golf before entering into a business relationship, you can avoid these types of negative relationships.
One word of caution: As you watch your playing partners and evaluate their personality, sense of humor, ability to handle challenges, and other characteristics, they may be watching you. In chapters 4 and 5, I show you how to handle different game situations so you present your professionalism on the golf course just as you do in the office.
FREEDOM: Distinguish Yourself from the Rest
Whether you are interviewing for a job, getting a promotion, or bidding on a project, it is helpful to differentiate yourself (of course, in a positive way) from the competition. Playing golf with someone distinguishes you from the rest of the pack.
One client, Jackie, entered an industry-sponsored golf tournament. She was teamed with three other players she did not know. After that round of golf, she has been able to call one teammate in particular for industry information and advice. They talk about their golf games and business. She believes the round of golf enabled them to get to know each other and helped establish her credibility as a business professional.
Another client, Peggy, a national account representative, credits playing in a corporate golf tournament for her promotion to vice president. Those making the promotion decision saw her at the tournament and saw her in action. She played with confidence and a sense that she belonged out on the course like anyone else. She knows if she hadn't played in the tournament, she'd have been just another name in the promotion game.
In the United States, 26.7 million people play golf, of which 21.7 million are men. A typical male golfer is just over forty years old, has a household income of $63,645 and plays twenty-two rounds per year.
Setting yourself apart from others is especially easy for women who play golf. It is presumed that men in business know how to play golf. But if a woman plays in a charity or corporate tournament, she will likely be one of only five to ten women out of a field of more than a hundred players. The women are going to be noticed! Don't worry. It's not your golf score-high or not--that will give you newfound popularity, since in most corporate golf outings the competition is a team format and your individual score is not kept.
Even off the course, you can distinguish yourself because you play golf. I use a day planner with a golf theme to show my love of the game. Or, you can decorate your office with golf for women paraphernalia--have a picture of you and your golf friends at your favorite golf course, or keep a putter in the corner so you can practice your stroke in the office. You can send note cards with a golf motif. You can also wear accessories with a golf theme, such as a lapel pin, scarf, or earrings to let others notice your interest in the game. Clients and colleagues will see that you like the game of golf. And since golfers love to talk about their golf games or the pro golf tournaments played over the weekend, you'll have plenty of topics for conversation.
FREEDOM: Opportunities Galore
Unlike most other sports, you don't need to find a partner to play a round of golf. You can go to a golf course or play in a tournament as a single player. The golf course staff will put you with three other players to create a foursome. This arrangement can lead to unforseen opportunities.
Denise, a senior account executive with a wireless equipment company, entered as a single player in her industry's tournament. She purposely signed up as a single to give herself an opportunity to meet new colleagues and prospects. Her method worked--she later signed a $1 million account.
Even if you don't land a new client, your round of golf can expand the network of people in your life. For example, Jackie didn't expect to find someone who has since become her mentor. You might find a referral to a great mechanic or a tax preparation wizard. One friend even met her husband thanks to playing as a single. I've created fabulous friendships with several players that I met initially on the golf course. The same goes for my business. Remember how I was featured in Golf for Women magazine?
I am always mindful of a saying: "Good luck is where preparation meets opportunity." By learning and making the time to play golf, you've done your preparation. You create an opportunity for yourself by going out to the golf course.
FREEDOM: Maximize Your Links on the Links
Whether it is to deepen relationships with existing clients or just to have fun with business colleagues, playing golf enables you to maximize the links you already have without the distractions of the office.
According to the National Golf Foundation, 67 percent of business executives play golf.
In her book "Going to the Top", Dr. Gallagher emphasizes the value to senior executive women of creating alliances with executives in their company as well as those in other companies. Maintaining those long-term relationships requires a commitment of time in learning about the latest developments of your business and personal lives. A round at the golf course gives you the time that you ordinarily might not take to maintain those important relationships.
In Chapter 4, I talk about the type of golf rounds that you can create to maximize your links on the links.
Summary: FREEDOM Is Worth the Time
My hope is that the FREEDOM benefits of playing golf will be a reminder and a motivator for you to take the time to learn and play the game. What other activity can give you so many potential benefits for you to succeed in your professional life? By playing golf, you will work smarter and more effectively than if you simply sit at your desk. And golf gives you the freedom to take care of your personal life by exercising, getting fresh air, and being more creative.