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.