Friday, December 7, 2007

Continuous improvement

This week's golf news is that Tiger is emerging from the off-season after two months of relaxing with his new daughter and "working on my body to be stronger than ever". Not encouraging news for his competitors on the PGA tour; Tiger is already the most fit and athletic player on the planet.

But like the ambitious entrepreneur his standards are higher than just winning, he wants to make history. He believes in the process of continuous improvement to be the best he can possibly be.

In business it might be called Kaizen or something else, but the successful business leader also knows that it needs to be done. It's not enough to "never quit"; it's necessary to "never stop getting better".

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Golf and the Game of Leadership

An interesting approach to leadership lessons by Donald E. McHugh. His book "Golf and the Game of Leadership" takes us from the practice tee to the 19th hole with some ideas that are common to success in golf, in business and in life.
It's worth a read just for some memorable analogies that will help you with some basic concepts and principles of leadership. McHugh has relevant personal experience as a corporate leadership trainer and as a golfer and does a good job of tying it all together within the framework of a round of golf.

Learning entrepreneurship

I recently gave a course at Concordia University on Entrepreneurship and a dozen enthusiastic young entrepreneurs passed with excellent marks. Will they all succeed as entrepreneurs?

Sorry, but taking a course is not enough. In the very first class we agreed that anyone can be an entrepreneur if they are passionate determined, persistent and patient. So why not? It sounds like the same cliches we hear from successful celebrities - "believe in your dream, never give up". But we neglect to be honest and admit that there is always one more requirement for success - talent!

It's like the rookie golfer who just couldn't improve and after every bad shot the pro kept explaining that his problem was LOFT. So the the rookie tried another club and still couldn't hit it straight. The pro then explained "I didn't say your problem was loft, I said it was L-O-F-T: Lack Of F***ing Talent!"

Sometimes its best to discourage budding entrepreneurs who have a dream but need to recognize they are only dreaming. First find something they can be good at.

The golfer as entrepreneur

Business may be like golf but the golfer is more entrepreneur than executive or CEO. No one to manage but himself or herself. No one else takes the credit or the blame. The results are up to you. Sounds like both: golfer and entrepreneur.

What about the characteristics of successful golfers and entrepreneurs? Both need to start with some natural talent or ability and then be determined, patient and persistent while building on it. Use experts, coaches, and mentors. Assess risks and rewards and make good strategic and tactical decisions. Hard-working and competitive, but also respecting the rules of the game and recognizing that luck has a lot to do with it. Best efforts don't always lead to the best results. There is no justice in day-to-day business or golf, but in the long run the best ones succeed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mike is back

Another victory for Mike Weir last weekend. Four days of golf in the 60's at a tough Arizona desert course. After 3-1/2 years without a win the former Masters champion could have lost his game and faded away. But in a tribute to persistence and dedication to getting better he showed his championship talent and heart at the President's Cup and again on Sunday.

In golf and in business, persistence and dedication to continuous improvement and sticking to the plan will eventually lead to triumph. For a business example see the comments of Darren Entwhistle of Telus.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Way to go, Mike!

A great demonstration of focus and commitment against all odds, Mike Weir defeated Tiger Woods in a face to face battle yesterday at Royal Montreal on the final day of the President's Cup.

All the pressure of high expectations for Canada's No.1 golfer against the toughest competitor in the world who's been having a great year while Mike has been struggling to win anywhere. After leading 3-up then bouncing one into the water after two birdies by Tiger he was 1-down with three holes to play. He won two of them for the match.

Guts and skill. All you need to win in business and in golf.

Way to go, Mike!

Friday, September 28, 2007


In one respect business is not like golf, and that is the element of teamwork. Golf is normally a very solitary endeavor, just one golfer against the course and all other competitors. Very much alone, 100% responsible for the results, no one else to share the credit or take the blame.

But occasionally golf is also a team sport. Typically in college golf, but more notably in the famous Ryder Cup and the President's Cup, which is currently taking place in Montreal. Yesterday was a match of two-on-two with the alternate ball format. That means I drive it off the tee into the rough, you hit it back on the fairway, I hit it back in the rough, you hit it on the green and I miss the putt. And so on.

That was pretty much the way it went yesterday for Tiger Woods and his partner Charles Howell III. Charles had hit one wide of the green into deep rough behind a large sand trap with very little green in front of the hole. Tiger slashed it out with typical finesse, flying high over the trap, landed softly on the fringe and rolled gently to within two feet. Charles stepped up and missed the putt! That's hard on team spirit.

Nevertheless, they persevered and won their match. As Tiger said, "What matters is that we got the job done."

Meanwhile Mike Weir and VJ Singh had a different team experience. Both had been playing well and were holding a slim lead. But Mike hit his approach shot to the green slightly left and it landed in the sand trap. No problem, VJ hit a perfect shot out of the sand, onto the green and into the hole!

Ah the joys of successful teamwork.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Books for both

I noticed on a recent visit to the bookstore that books on golf and business are remarkably similar.

Catchy titles: "The six rules for success", "The only book you'll ever need to need to read" , "Learn from the pros", etc. .... And the selections are similar; mastering techniques, applying psychology, or success stories from the past.

But in business and in golf, studying the subject and knowing the principles for success are not enough. You have to practice and get better by doing it.

Learning from experience and not just experiencing the experience will make all the difference.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another good weekend for Tiger

Watching Tiger shoot 28 on the front nine was exciting and impressive, but the disappointment of a 35 on the back nine was a helpful reminder to us all that our expectations are not always met. Even the world's best golfer can have a letdown.

We were all looking forward to a 60, 59, or maybe even the first ever 58 on a PGA tour event. But the magic ended, inexplicably, as in life and business.

Nevertheless, Tiger won another tournament, another $1.26 million, plus the first FedEx Cup for the season's playoff series winner and a $10 million bonus. Suddenly, golf sounds a whole lot better than most businesses. I wonder if it's all golf for Tiger or does he see it as a business too?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One to remember

Another quotable from my dad, the original Uncle Ralph, which he used a lot when he was coaching me at baseball, but also applies to business and golf.

"It's never good enough to swing and hope."

Think about it.

Advice from golfers

Many golfers have succeeded in business as well as golf and they have relevant advice for us about both. On this Blog we'll worry more about business than your golf (or mine).

First quotes are from Arnold Palmer, thanks to Rick Spence and his Canadian Entrepreneur Blog.

Best-Ever Entrepreneurship Quotes: Week 49

Here is your motivational Quote of the Week, personally selected to get your week off to an inspirational start.

“Winning isn't everything, but wanting it is.”Arnold Palmer, professional golfer and living legend.Today Arnie celebrates his 78th birthday. To send him a birthday greeting, click here (registration required in “Arnie’s Army”).

And here's another great Arnold Palmer quote on competition for all entrepreneurs to chew on:“I never rooted against an opponent. But I never rooted for him, either.”
Thanks Arnold and Rick for your thoughts on golf and business.

Business is like golf

I keep being reminded that business is like golf, so decided it's time to start a blog and website on the subject. Sorry, I just couldn't stop myself!

Several years ago at DirectTech Solutions we worked that theme into our marketing strategy.
(See: )

It included golf themed brochures, putting contests at trade shows, sponsoring golf tournaments, etc. It was fun and created some buzz, but we got tired of it and moved on.

However, now that I'm spending more time trying to write, teach, advise, consult and comment on management, leadership and entrepreneurship, the golf analogy keeps coming back.

Let's see how far we can take it this time.